| 11.4°C Dublin

New teen quizzed in murder ambush

A PHONE CALL lured gangland victim Stephen ‘Madser' Byrne to his gunman killer, gardai now believe.

Officers are accessing phone records to trace the person who phoned Byrne on his mobile minutes before the victim left his home and was shot dead.

A source told the Herald: “The phone call is critical and all efforts are being made to trace it. We have identified the three who were talking with Stephen Byrne, but others passing would have witnessed it too. The investigation is at an early stage and a lot of work remains to be done.”

The sinister development comes after the arrest of a second teenager who is believed to have witnessed the murder.

The 16-year-old was arrested at 2pm yesterday on suspicion of withholding information about the gangland killing and was still being questioned today.

The boy is believed to have been one of three males standing with Byrne when he was shot dead.

The other two, a 15-year-old and a man in his 20s, have been quizzed and released.

Tensions remain high in the area today and a major undercover policing is believed to be in place there.

The 16-year-old is believed to have been speaking to Stephen ‘Madser' Byrne (32) at the junction of St Laurence Place East and Sheriff Street in Dublin's north inner-city before he was shot.

Byrne was the fifth victim of the Sheriff Street Feud, which began six years ago after a gang headed by convicted paedophile Christy Griffin split following accusations that Griffin raped his partner's daughter.

Griffin (40) was subsequently convicted of the crime and jailed for life.

The boy, arrested at 2pm yesterday, was one of a group of three males who had been speaking to Byrne seconds before he was gunned down.

The other two are a 15-year-old teen and a man in his late 20s, who were arrested by gardai on Tuesday evening but released without charge.

A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine if those questioned will face charges for withholding information.

Gardai are continuing to appeal for information on the hitman who killed Byrne.

Byrne (32), a convicted criminal, lived at Mariner's Port, just yards from where he was killed. He received a phone call while in his house last Tuesday afternoon and went to meet somebody on the street minutes later.

As he was talking to three men, a lone gunman approached on a mountain bike, shooting Byrne in the head and chest.

Those talking to Byrne fled as the gunman moved in. The killer, who used a handgun, escaped on his bike and fled towards Seville Place, turning left in the direction of the Five Lamps.

But he did not reach the Five Lamps and gardai are not sure where he headed after that.

They have appealed to motorists or pedestrians who may have spotted a young man wearing a grey hoodie and black balaclava on a black bike in that area between 4.40pm and 5pm to contact them in confidence.

Gardai believe that the bike may have been stolen and resprayed black before the attack. They are also examining CCTV footage.

Byrne was known to gardai and was the chief suspect in the murder of Stephen Ledden (28) who was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity at his home in December 2006.


Along with his suspected involvement in Ledden's murder, Byrne was also suspected in a grenade attack on gang boss Christy Griffin's home, at Ridgewood Green, Swords in 2006.

A patio was damaged in the attack, but no one was injured.

Stephen Byrne was a convicted armed robber and was known to gardai as a joyrider from the age of 10.

When he was nine years old, Byrne was sent to an institution for failing to attend school and when he left aged 12, having “suffered a horrific pattern of physical and sexual abuse”, he began to abuse drugs.

Today, flowers and cards for Byrne hung on the railings where he was gunned down.

“To Stephen, this world was never good enough for you. Now you are somewhere you can shine. Will always miss you.

Love always,” was one card signed by Lorraine and Annemarie.

Another boquet had “To Madser from H, miss you already” on a card. And two other floral bunches referred to Byrne as ‘Swifty’, and were signed by Git and Buda.