An associate of former crime kingpin ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson desperately tried to revive gangland killer Eugene Cullen, who died in his jail cell after a suspected drugs overdose.
The two friends were sharing a cell in the Midlands Prison when Ian Maloney (28) discovered Cullen (32) was not breathing early yesterday morning.
Crumlin native Cullen was convicted in March of last year of murdering Shay O’Byrne (27) in Tallaght, on March 13, 2009.
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 six years ago. Sharon is the sister of jailed gang boss Brian Rattigan, who is serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder that started the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud.
While Bray criminal Garrett O’Brien was the trigger man in the O’Byrne murder, and is serving a life sentence for it, a jury found that Cullen knowingly participated in the incident and had met at a hotel with a number of plotters for the purpose of planning and executing the murder.
Cullen’s role was that of a lookout in a nearby getaway car which left the scene when things went wrong. He had also purchased a can of petrol at a service station for the purpose of burning out the getaway vehicle.
Sharon Rattigan tackled the gunman, disarmed him and in doing so was shot.
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.
Both the O’ Byrne and Bryan murders were part of the deadly Crumlin/Drimnagh feud which claimed 15 lives.
Cullen was arrested close to the scene of Bryan’s murder shortly after five bullets had been pumped into the victim, but gardai did not have enough evidence to charge him.
Cullen had been locked up in jail since his extradition from Amsterdam in July 2012, a city that he fled to after the Shay O’Byrne murder.
His last court appearance, in May of this year, related to an incident in August 2008, in which he set fire to a stolen car, which had a 9mm pistol in the glove box, in the Palmerstown area of south Dublin.
He was given an extra six years on top of the life sentence that was imposed on him
last year, after he pleaded
guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a firearm and arson.
In March 2013, Cullen was also handed a 10-year jail sentence for the armed robbery of 18 Cartier and 28 Rolex watches, valued at €108,887, from a Galway city jewellers in 2008.
Earlier in the same month, he was given a five-year jail sentence for robbing a shopkeeper and his son at gunpoint in 2007.
Cullen’s involvement in the Thompson mob also meant he was a key target for gang rivals, and his family home in Drimnagh was shot-up in August, 2007.
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.
Cullen’s pal Maloney, from Cashel Road in Crumlin, is serving a 12 year sentence for the robbery of a jewellery shop in Dundrum Town Centre in 2008.
He and an accomplice escaped using a fire exit and drove away in a stolen car.
Investigations led gardai to Maloney and the keys to the car were found during a search of his home.