Wednesday 25 April 2018

Murder attempt victim may have been targeted over friendship with woman

Bullet holes in a car after a man was shot at in Stamullen, Co Meath. Picture: Damien Eagers
Bullet holes in a car after a man was shot at in Stamullen, Co Meath. Picture: Damien Eagers

Ken Foy and Ryan Nugent

Gardaí are investigating if a man who was shot multiple times in an attempted murder was targeted because of his friendship with a woman.

Tony O'Connor, who is in his mid-30s and has no involvement in crime, is recovering from his injuries after being ambushed in the driveway of his home in Stamullen, Co Meath.

It has now emerged that Mr O' Connor had previously been intimidated by gangland criminals because of his friendship with a woman who is known to them. It is understood that they threatened him last month at his home.

Gardaí are probing whether the shooting may be linked to a notorious pair of brothers nicknamed the 'Taliban'.

Mr O'Connor remained in a serious but stable condition in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, last night.

Eight shots were fired at the victim as he sat in his car. He was hit at least three times in the elbow and abdomen but was conscious when the emergency services arrived. He is expected to survive.

Speaking to reporters outside Ashbourne garda station yesterday, Superintendent Jim Cannon revealed that a car believed to have taken the gunman from the scene had been found.

"There was an attempt made to burn the car," he said, adding that a gun had also been found inside the vehicle.

Supt Cannon said the gunman was wearing a balaclava and dark overalls when he approached the victim.

The car, a blue Seat Leon with the registration 151 DL, left the scene, turning left towards Stamullen village. It was found on the Bellewstown Road.

Supt Cannon said investigators were satisfied this incident was not gang-related and that it was not connected to any existing feuds.

"Stamullen is a very quiet area, the victim is not known to gardaí and this is what we would describe as a despicable act, where there were children present at the scene and there were other people present and this man is obviously an innocent victim," the superintendent said.

Sources confirmed last night that gardaí are investigating if the highly feared 'Taliban' brothers ordered the botched murder attempt.

The brothers, who are aged 34 and 32, are wanted for questioning in relation to a spate of killings.

They grew up in the Coolock area of north Dublin and were heavily involved in organised burglaries and armed robberies even when they were only teenagers.

Irish Independent

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