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Hunt on for gang who stabbed teen to death over small debt

A YOUNG DJ was stabbed to death by teenagers worked up into a killing frenzy.

The young man was murdered over a €5,000 debt -- as his mother lay on her deathbed.

David Byrne (19) was stabbed four times and bled to death in the ambush at Inchicore -- but detectives don't believe the gang meant to kill him.

"It was meant to be a warning. They wanted their money back but they got worked up into a killing frenzy," said a source today.

The killers are believed to be aged between just 16 and 17 years. David ran for 500 metres to escape but was finally cornered as he grew tired.

Our picture shows gardai recovering a knife from the canal close to the scene of the attack.

David had been known to associate with younger members of the 'Fat' Freddie Thompson drugs gang.

The four hooded youths can be seen on CCTV carrying out the attack and gardai are confident of catching all involved.

"You are talking about very angry young men. They probably had taken drugs themselves and after the chase everything got out of control. It was meant to be a warning and in a split second became a savage and most brutal murder," said a source.

Officers believe the victim may have owed money to the group for drugs. The DJ and student, whose mother is gravely ill with a brain tumour, was left to die on the ground.

Gardai believe that the younger members of one of the Crumlin-Drimnagh crime gangs targeted Byrne. He was attacked and stabbed a number of months ago, but survived.

Associates

The victim is thought to have owed €5,000 in a drugs debt and was also blamed for losing a few kilos of cannabis.

Gardai had observed him associating with members of the 'Fat' Freddie Thompson gang - but his killing is not directly feud related.

The Herald understands the part-time DJ was targeted for attempting to leave the gang after his mother Ann Byrne was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumour.

The victim's uncle, Bill Hayes, revealed the double-tragedy which has hit his family.

"She is going into the hospice on Tuesday. This will be very hard on her," he said.

Mr Byrne's phone records are now being examined after gardai received reports he had been lured to his death by his killers. Gardai recovered a knife from the Grand Canal, which may have been used in the murder.

Officers believe the killing was not spontaneous and had been planned in advance.

Mr Byrne, who lived with his mother at Davitt House in Inchicore, was chased by his attackers across the canal and into St Vincent's Street West before seeking refuge in Emmet Court apartment complex.

At least one of the men caught up with Mr Byrne in the cul-de-sac car park and courtyard in Emmet Court and stabbed him several times in the kidneys and back as his three accomplices kept lookout. The gang, which is now the subject of a city-wide manhunt, then fled the murder scene on foot.

The suspects are believed to be younger members of one of the 'Fat' Freddie gang.

An ambulance was called and Mr Byrne was taken to St James's Hospital where, despite desperate attempts to save the teen, he was pronounced dead a short time later.

It is believed Mr Byrne's killers, who wore hooded tops, initially attacked him shortly after 10pm on the Drimnagh side of the Grand Canal near the Davitt House estate. The chase and attack are understood to have been caught on CCTV footage but the faces of Mr Byrne's attackers were hidden.

Detective from Kilmainham Garda Station have interviewed a number of witnesses and investigations are ongoing.

David's uncle, Bill Hayes, described him as lovable young man trying to find work.

"David was 6ft 2 and a lovely young fella," he said. "He was into DJing and a bit of Gaelic. He was DJing out in a few places in Finglas. He had also applied to FAS for a course. Everyone is devastated. His mother is fairly sick at the moment."

Officers from the Garda Water Unit trawled a 200 metre stretch of the Grand Canal in search of the murder weapon as part of a massive garda search of the area. They discovered a four inch blade, a screwdriver and a metal rod but is unclear whether any of these implements were used in the attack.

An elderly neighbour said today: "David was a grand young fella. I knew him since he was a child. Not a bit of bother. It's terrible news."

Anyone with any information on the killing is asked to contact Kilmainham Garda Station on (01) 6667300, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

hnews@herald.ie


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