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Mobsters will always pay the ultimate price for their lifestyle - a bullet

IN THE seconds before the gunmen opened fire I wonder did any regrets race through Micka Kelly's mind?

Did the gangster wonder was it all worthwhile? The threats, the murders, the years looking over his shoulder?

Whatever profits he may have made from crime, his murder yesterday proved how worthless his chosen career eventually was.

The Panda's murder, like that of Marlo Hyland and Eamon Dunne, was inevitable.

In my career I have dealt with major criminals like Kelly, many of whom were subsequently murdered.

When my colleagues and I would warn them of threats they would, very often, laugh them off. If they're still laughing now, it's in the next life.

The nature of The Panda's murder in Clongriffin yesterday shows the callousness of those who operate in Dublin's underworld.

Kelly was shot after leaving his girlfriend's home in the middle of the day. Someone had told his assassins that The Panda was back in town, and visiting his baby.

They would have known that Kelly's guard was down, that he was unlikely to be carrying a gun and his mind would -- albeit briefly -- be on matters other than crime. They saw their chance.

The fact that they drove over Kelly's body as he lay dying is sickening, but not surprising. It was a final, calculated insult.

What is shocking is the fact that this hit team fired multiple shots in a built-up residential area where parents and children were moving about at lunchtime.

Mark my words, an entirely innocent party will end up seriously injured, or worse, if such shootings continue.

Despite the planned nature of yesterday's hit, the gardai have evidence to work on.

The getaway car involved was not burned out -- a major error by the killers. Even if the hit-team had cleaned the vehicle, forensic advances mean that the smallest piece of evidence can be crucial.

The area is built up and access roads will be covered by CCTV. Sources in Dublin's underworld may have already given information.

Given The Panda's past record, the list of suspects will be long. Few in the underworld, or among gardai, will mourn him.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent with over 35 years' experience policing serious crime