| 7.2°C Dublin

Gardai fear new violence in feud over gun deaths

FAMILY feud which has left two men dead and another beginning a life term in jail is a melting pot for further violence.

Garda fear that the inner city battle could cost more lives despite the conclusion of a murder trial this week.



Michael Taylor Jnr (31) from Summerhill was jailed for life for the murder of Paul Kelly (26) in April 2007. The Herald previously revealed how Taylor's father was shot dead in retaliation for Kelly's killing.



However, during evidence a senior detective told a court that the feud is ongoing.



In the absence of the jury, Det Sgt John McLoughlin revealed in the Central Criminal Court that he believed the feud which led to the murders of Paul Kelly and Michael Taylor senior was still active.



The detective spoke of the true scale of the dangers posed by the feud sparked by the killing of Kelly at an address in Clontarf on April 6, 2007.

Within an hour of the murder an investigating detective, Sgt Dave Gallagher, received a call from a colleague saying he had stopped Michael Taylor Snr in a black Saab at Inisfallen Road, Drumcondra.

He was arrested on suspicion of possession of firearms at the murder scene.

The jury was also not told that Det Sgt McLoughlin had been informed by a member of the Kelly family that Michael Taylor Snr -- shot dead at a caravan park in Donabate last June -- had arranged by telephone for a named man to drive the killers away from the scene of Paul Kelly's murder.



Delay

But, when interviewed, this man denied any involvement and expressed fears for his life which gardai believed were realistic. Mobile phone records were not available because of the time delay.

The informant refused, on or off the record, to reveal the source of the information.

It also emerged from phone records that two months before Paul Kelly was shot, Michael Taylor Jnr had been in touch with the garda "in relation to a particular matter". He rang looking for Sgt David Finnerty, then stationed in Crumlin, on February 3, 2007. He was later contacted.

The existence of the feud, which began in late 2006 over a woman, formed part of the evidence against Michael Taylor Jnr. It was combined with DNA evidence and mobile phone records.

On July 26, 2007, Sgt Joe O'Flahery stopped a Ford Focus reversing at speed out of Rutland Court into Buckingham Street -- close to home of the Michael Taylor Snr's house.

There had been a grenade thrown into the rear of the house on the previous day. He spoke with Michael Taylor Jnr, who was with the driver Stephen Keogh. Taylor told him that the feud was over. The families had met and negotiated a peace deal.

Sgt O'Flahery put this detail into the garda Pulse system. He felt this was good news as the community had been at risk.

The accused denied ever making the statement which the prosecution said was evidence in itself of the feud existing.

A month later on August 23, 2007, Taylor was found with a loaded gun in a stolen car about to hit a security van at Sandyford Business Park.

On bail for possession of cocaine at the time, he was given a total of 16 years for the offences in November 2008.

At one point, the trial was in danger of collapsing after defence counsel Michael O'Higgins informed the court that "by chance" they had come across the statements made by the Kelly family member which had not been made available them by the prosecution.

Judge Barry White said this could have resulted in a waste of scarce State resources if it had emerged later at the Court of Criminal Appeal.

This information had to be made available to the defence even if the prosecution did not intend to use it. The statement had been sent to the DPP by investigating gardai.

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy