Saturday 16 December 2017

Drug death gangland killer Eugene Cullen was the 'captain of his soul', funeral told

Eugene Cullen (pictured) who was found dead in his cell, was part of the gang led by ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson
Eugene Cullen (pictured) who was found dead in his cell, was part of the gang led by ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A gangland killer and right-hand man of former gang boss 'Fat' Freddie Thompson has been remembered as the master of his own fate and the captain of his soul at his funeral.

Father-of-one Eugene Cullen (33), from Crumlin, was found dead in his cell in the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise last Wednesday from a suspected overdose.

Eugene Cullen (pictured) who was found dead in his cell, was part of the gang led by ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson
Eugene Cullen (pictured) who was found dead in his cell, was part of the gang led by ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson

Cullen was found unresponsive in his cell at 9am by his cell mate who tried to revive him and raised the alarm.

Despite the work of prison medics and members of the emergency services called to the prison, efforts to save him proved in vain.

Foul play was ruled out and samples were taken during post mortem for toxicology analysis which prison authorities expect will show that Cullen died from drug use.

Read more here: Convicted criminal and gangland figure Eugene Cullen found dead in prison cell 

Whether a bad batch of drugs made it into the prison, or a mixture of drugs or too much of a drug, that may have killed Cullen is still being investigated.

He was serving life for the murder of Shay O'Byrne (27) in Tallaght in 2009.

Thompson's gang has now been decimated by internal fighting, and 'Fat' Freddie himself was forced to flee to England in fear of his life last month.

His bitter rival Shay O'Byrne was shot dead by a hooded gunman in front of his girlfriend Sharon Rattigan and his baby outside their home.

Sharon is the sister of jailed gang boss Brian Rattigan, who is serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder of Declan Gavin, which started the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud.

Quoting the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley at his funeral in St Agnes's Church in Crumlin yesterday, a mourner brought the congregation to silence."It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll," she read.

"I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul."

Earlier, Fr Michael Scott had told mourners how Cullen's mother Terry had remembered him as a boy who had excelled at school yet who had been expelled.

Despite his father calling him a messer, it went "in one ear and out the other", he said.

"He was an avid sports fan - of football, Formula One, and GAA, but most of all loved scoring goals for the St Patrick's Athletic club from a very young age," he said.

"His love of the Irish language from an early age also earned him a gold coin."

The birth of his son was said to have put an extra spark in his life, but now that Eugene was gone, there would be a void left in their lives, mourners heard.

While Bray criminal Garret O'Brien was the gunman in the murder of Shay O'Byrne, and is serving a life sentence for it, a jury found that Cullen participated in the killing and had met at a hotel with a number of others to plan and execute the murder.

Cullen's role was that of lookout in a nearby getaway car, which left the scene when things went wrong.

He had also bought a can of petrol to burn the car.

Sharon Rattigan tackled the gunman as he fired, disarming him after the fatal shots were fired and getting shot in the leg in the process.

Cullen was also the chief suspect in the murder of Gary Bryan (31), who was shot dead in front of his girlfriend in Walkinstown in September, 2006.

After the funeral mass Cullen's remains were brought to Palmerstown cemetery.


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