Tuesday 24 October 2017

Detectives investigate if feud murder victims were 'gunned down by the same hitman'

Darragh Nugent (36) and his close pal John Gibson (28)
Darragh Nugent (36) and his close pal John Gibson (28)

Ken Foy

A highly trained garda analysis team are investigating whether the same hitman was responsible for two feud murders in the space of a week.

Gardai have noticed "certain similarities" in the gun murders of John Gibson (28) and his close pal Darragh Nugent (36) who detectives believe were shot dead by the same west Dublin drugs gang.

"The analysis team are trying to determine in a very forensic way what are the similarities between these murders which each happened on a Monday night at almost the same time," a senior source explained.

FEAR

Murder victims Darragh Nugent and John Gibson with friend
Murder victims Darragh Nugent and John Gibson with friend

While no arrests have been made in either case, gardai are examining if the pals were shot dead by the same gunman.

New details of the probe which is being conducted by a team of officers from Tallaght and Lucan stations comes as Independent.ie can reveal that Gibson feared for his life after the murder of his pal Nugent.

"Gibson knew he was under threat, he confided in people about this. He felt he was next to be killed and unfortunately he was right," a senior source said last night.

Gibson's murder as the fourth slaying in the bitter west Dublin drugs feud.

"He had been staying in the Tallaght area with a friend because he did not feel safe in his home patch," the source said.

"In fact, it seems he was trying to make plans to get out of the country but he was not quick enough or did not have the means. This murder and the murder of Darragh Nugent are the focus of a multi-layered garda investigation," the source added.

The gang suspected of murdering Nugent and Gibson are linked to the deadly Kinahan cartel and are considered west Dublin’s biggest drug suppliers but they went into conflict with jailed  hitman James ‘Nellie Walsh around five years ago.

Both Gibson and Nugent had close links to Walsh who is currently serving a lengthy sentence for firearms offences in Mountjoy Prison.

A hitman has not yet been identified by gardai.

FUNERAL

Gibson’s funeral took place on Thursday morning in the Church of the Divine Mercy in Lucan, Co Dublin.

His aunt, Ciara spoke to mourners about ‘John John’s’ special relationship with his grandad and his mum.

She said: “John John’s first father figure was his grandad who loved him dearly and he had lots of friends from where Tara (his mother) grew up.

“They all knew him as the gentle giant.

“It was always just Tara and John John. She adored him and he idolised his mum.”

His aunt then pleaded for the ‘barbaric’ murders to end and said that the night of John’s death will forever haunt their family.

She continued: “My beautiful sister has lost the only child she ever had, her beautiful baby boy."

“She can know in her heart that John Eamon Gibson never had anyone’s blood on his hands.

“We condemn all violence in the strongest possible terms because until this week it has been alien to our family," she said.

The dignified scenes at Gibson's funeral were in stark contrast to events that unfolded at his friend Nugent's funeral six days earlier.

Some mourners at that funeral interrupted Fr David Halpin who said the murdered man had made "bad, bad decisions" that contributed to his death.

As he spoke about Nugent's death, one mourner shouted out: "That's enough," and "this is supposed to be a celebration of Darragh's life." Another shouted "stop", a word repeated by other mourners as the sermon continued.

Four of the congregation left the church in anger. However, Nugent's partner Cathy shouted for the priest to continue as "he has to do what he has to do".

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News