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Man accused of murder of 'guinea pig' Desmond


Mark ‘Guinea Pig’ Desmond was involved in at
least four murders

Mark ‘Guinea Pig’ Desmond was involved in at least four murders

Mark ‘Guinea Pig’ Desmond was involved in at least four murders

A man has been remanded in custody after he was charged with the murder of Mark 'Guinea Pig' Desmond in a shooting in west Dublin four years ago.

Desmond (41), originally from Lally Road, Ballyfermot, was shot several times at around 8pm on December 2, 2016.

The gun attack occurred when he went to Griffeen Valley Park, Lucan. A burnt-out car was found nearby after the shooting.

Charles McClean (32) of St Mark's Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin, was yesterday arrested and charged with Desmond's murder.

He appeared before Judge Victor Blake at Cloverhill District Court afterwards.

Detective Sergeant Sean Cosgrove told Judge Blake that Mr McClean's reply to charge was "no comment".

Judge Blake asked if formal directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had been obtained. Detective Sergeant Cosgrove said these will be available in a week.

Judge Blake remanded Mr McClean, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, in custody to appear again on October 28 for the directions to be outlined.

He also agreed to a request from Aoife O'Halloran, defending, to grant legal aid to the accused.

A book of evidence has to be completed and formal directions must be given by the DPP before Mr McClean can be returned for trial to the Central Criminal Court.

Mr McClean, wearing a grey tracksuit, spoke briefly through his facemask.

At the start of the hearing he said "good afternoon" and at the end he thanked the judge for approving his legal aid request.

The District Court cannot consider a bail application in a murder case. An application for bail would have to be made in the High Court if he is looking to get released pending his trial.

Desmond, nicknamed the 'Guinea Pig', was suspected of involvement in at least four murders as well as multiple beatings and sexual assaults including the rape of a 15-year-old boy.

The gun-for-hire was charged but never convicted of the notorious Canal Murders in 2000.

It is believed that Desmond lured Darren Carey (20) and Patrick Murray (19) to a meeting in Ballyfermot before murdering the two men.

Their bodies were then dumped into the Grand Canal, and were eventually discovered between January 9 and 10, 2000.

However the DPP dropped the murder charges before the case began after a number of key witnesses recanted their statements.

Desmond was later jailed for firearms offences arising from the same incident.

During this court case, graphic evidence of Desmond's violent tendencies was presented in court.

Desmond's former girlfriend testified how he threatened to kill her with a shotgun when he thought she was smoking heroin in the same house as their baby son.


The Ballyfermot criminal was a chief suspect in the murder of gangland figure Anthony Cannon (28), who was shot dead in 2010.

Cannon, an enforcer for jailed gang boss Brian Rattigan, was believed to be behind a previous attempt on the 'Guinea Pig's' life.

Desmond was also heavily suspected of involvement in the murder of James Kenny McDonagh (29) in 2010.

The father-of-one disappeared in October of that year but his body was not recovered until January 2012.

The 'Guinea Pig' had survived a number of attempts on his life before he was shot dead.

These included a Tallaght shooting in 2005 as well as a botched murder bid in a Ballyfermot park in 2010.

He was known to associate with a number of organised crime gangs including criminals in the capital, Co Wicklow and Co Sligo.