'Judas' hitman was pals with Hutch mobster but agreed to kill for €100k
The hired hitman who accidentally shot the wrong man this week was offered more than €100,000 to kill his intended target, it has emerged.
The 24-year-old gangster is a hired gun who is actually friendly with many main players in the Hutch mob, including intended target Keith Murtagh (32).
However, on Thursday he headed to Sheriff Street in Dublin's north inner city to carry out a planned hit on Murtagh.
Instead, tragic Martin O'Rourke (24), who had no involvement in the deadly feud, was caught in the crossfire and suffered fatal injuries.
The father of Martin O'Rourke's partner paid tribute to him, while castigating the people behind his killing.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Larry Power - the father of Martin's partner Angelina - said the young man was an innocent victim murdered by "stupid fools".
"He wasn't an angel. He had a few minor charges for theft and that, but he deserved in no way to be fired at the way he was.
"He was an innocent victim. The people who did this, sending a stupid fool out to shoot an innocent man to death, they have caused nothing but pain.
"These gangs, they would do anything for the right price. Life means nothing to them. Three young children are now without a father. I don't know how Angelina is dealing with it at the moment, I can't imagine."
He also said Mr O'Rourke was trying to turn his life around.
"People are trying to make out that he was a junkie, he wasn't. He didn't have an addiction. He had it tough but he was turning his life around, looking after his family. Now my daughter and three young babies are left without a father. We're still coming to terms with it, I don't know what to say."
The chief suspect for the gruesome murder of Mr O'Rourke left the scene on a bicycle and dumped his handgun in a bin as he fled.
Gardaí believe forensic evidence from the discarded weapon and getaway bicycle will help them "nail" the contract hitman.
Ballistic tests are being carried out on the gun, which was thrown into a bin by the fleeing gunman after he had fired six shots outside a Dublin inner city pub on Thursday.
Sources are unsure whether the 24-year-old hitman will now become a cartel target himself, after the botched assassination.
"He is being called a Judas because he is actually mates with many of the main players in the Hutch gang, yet he took up the offer of money to kill Keith Murtagh," a source explained.
"He would have known these fellas since he was a kid," the source added.
The development comes as it emerged that a close associate of David Byrne, who was shot dead in the Regency Hotel gun attack, is now the driving force behind the cartel's operations.
A source said that this notorious Crumlin-based thug is the person who is "offering up the cash for the next murders", resulting in this week's atrocity.
Crime godfather Christy Kinahan has ordered his son Daniel to "step back" from the bitter feud that has now claimed five lives because it is bad for the drug-trafficking business.
The hired gunman has been arrested twice by Tallaght gardaí investigating the cartel-sanctioned slaying of Michael 'Mad Mickey' Devoy (41) in January, 2014.
Gardaí believe that the north-inner-city criminal, who was being hunted last night, also set up Devoy to be murdered on behalf of the cartel.
Sources say the young criminal is just one of a network of young thugs who are prepared to kill for the Kinahan cartel.
The intended target of Thursday's shooting, Keith Murtagh was understood to be still in hiding last night.
Murtagh was jailed for eight years in 2010 for his role in a botched cash-in-transit robbery in Lucan in May, 2009, in which Murtagh was shot and seriously wounded. Fellow criminal Gareth Molloy (27) was shot dead by an armed detective during the attempted heist.