| 16.1°C Dublin

Hitman walked back for a second gun to finish off gangland target Zambra

Close

Zambra’s armed killer was captured on CCTV

Zambra’s armed killer was captured on CCTV

Zambra’s armed killer was captured on CCTV

A gangland criminal tried to fight off his killer before he was shot multiple times in front of his niece, an inquest heard.

Christopher Zambra (39) parked outside his sister's house on Cooley Road, Drimnagh, on May 4, 2014.

Witnesses saw a gunman chase him before the pair engaged in a tussle and Zambra fell over a fence into a garden.

Zambra's sister Sharon Farrington said she saw a man in a ski mask chase another man down the street from her bedroom window.

"The man caught up with him and I ran away from the window. I said: 'Is it Christopher?' I was afraid for his life," she said.

Her daughter Jessica saw her uncle running up Cooley Road at about 2.40pm.

"I saw him running and another man behind him pointing a gun at his back," she said.

"I saw him shoot him twice in the back. Christopher fell over a wall."

Jessica said she shouted for the gunman to stop.

Struggling

"The shooter casually walked back to a car and got another gun, walked back to Christopher and shot him twice," she said in her deposition, read out at Dublin Coroner's Court.

She held her uncle's hand as he lay dying in the front garden of a house three doors from her home, the court heard.

A witness in a house nearby went to the window when he heard gunshots.

"I saw two males struggling with each other," the man said.

"The gunman hit the other man over the head with the gun. He fell over the fence.

"The gunman shot him three or four times."

He saw the gunman return to a car for another firearm and shoot him again.

A large crowd had gathered at the scene by the time gardai arrived at 3.02pm.

Zambra, of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death was chest injuries due to gunshot wounds.

CCTV footage showed Zambra leaving his home and picked up his car at various locations on the way to Cooley Road. Gardai believe he was followed on this journey.

Officers followed up 250 lines of inquiry and took 190 statements, but the investigation remains open, the court heard.

The jury before Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of unlawful killing by person or persons unknown.

Zambra was a suspected killer and drug dealer. He was acquitted in June 2013 of the 2009 murder of drugs trafficker John Carroll, who was shot dead at a pub in The Coombe.

Gardai believe he ordered and organised Carroll's murder because of a row over a woman and the fact he owed Carroll a five-figure sum for drugs.

Zambra was formerly closely connected to the gang which was led by convicted killer and heroin dealer Brian Rattigan, who grew up in the same estate that Zambra was shot dead in.

Zambra then became a key member of the 'Mr Big' drugs organisation, which ordered the murder of Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan in 2012.

Detectives believe that Zambra had been under detailed surveillance for a number of weeks before he was shot dead.

It is understood that the Criminal Assets Bureau was in the process of securing a judgment against the gangster - a notorious "ladies' man" who had affairs with many women, some of whom were in relationships with other gangsters.

From his earliest court cases, there were mentions of Zambra's sporting abilities.

Drugs

In 1998, when he was jailed for four years after acting as a getaway driver during an attempted robbery in 1995, the court heard he was a former youth soccer international.

Zambra's solicitor told the court that his ambition to represent Ireland at senior level had been cut short by a serious ankle injury and, before that, he had been given a trial by a top English club.

The court also heard that Zambra spent a fair proportion of IR£26,000 compensation he received for a car accident on his mother's house, and the rest on heavy drugs and socialising after becoming involved with a bad crowd.

What was not said in court was that this included young criminals who would later form the nucleus of the mob that was led by convicted murderer Rattigan, who took part in the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud, which claimed up to 15 lives.


Privacy