A CLOSE pal of the Corbally brothers has overdosed - before his rivals had a chance to murder him.
Stephen Duffy (24), best pals with slain gangster brothers Kenneth and Paul Corbally, died at James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown a week ago.
It is understood that Duffy died from complications linked to a suspected drugs overdose that he suffered at a house in Maynooth, Co Kildare -- a week before his death.
The criminal, who was extremely well known to gardai, was under death threat from rival gangsters before his death. When he failed to show up for a court hearing last year the judge was told it was because his life was in danger.
Duffy is believed to have been the intended target of a shooting incident last October in which small-time gangster Robert Ryle (30) was murdered at Foxdene Park, Clondalkin.
The shooting was carried out on behalf of a Ballyfermot gang led by on-the-run crimelord Derek 'Dee Dee' O' Driscoll, who are also suspected of murdering the Corbally brothers in a double assassination last June.
Sources say that Duffy "was like a brother to the Corballys and their right-hand man".
He appeared at Tallaght District Court with the two men in March of last year where they faced charges in relation to an incident where they chased a diner over the counter in a fast-food restaurant after they approached and spoke to him while he was eating his meal.
The incident took place at Burger King, Belgard Road, Tallaght, on September 16, 2009, and the three criminals were later picked up by gardai on the Naas Road.
A warrant was issued for Duffy's arrest last November when he failed to answer the Burger King charges.
At that hearing, a family member explained that Duffy had not turned up because he felt his "life is in danger".
In April 2007, Duffy and two of his older associates were jailed for their role in an incident in Clondalkin where they attacked gardai with a sword and a car battery and bit, kicked and punched them to try to obstruct an arrest.
Duffy was aged 19 at the time that he was sent to jail for a year for this offence which occurred outside a house in Clondalkin in November, 2005. He had already built up 19 criminal convictions at that stage.
The 2007 court hearing heard evidence from Garda Josephine Dowling who was struck in the face during the melee.
Duffy was followed by gardai into a house between 6am and 7am that morning and when two male officers tried to arrest Duffy they were told to "f**k off" and that he hadn't done anything.
They tried to put handcuffs on Duffy but he resisted and a struggle broke out between them and a number of people who were in the house.
A car battery was later thrown at gardai and a samurai sword was swung at them.