Wilson was a dead man walking after city crimelord dumped him

Ken Foy

John Wilson's life had been under threat for some time, especially as he found himself estranged from the Dublin crimelord to whom he and his younger brother Eric had been closely aligned.

He was dumped by the veteran West Dublin criminal, who is in his 60s. He made millions from importing black market cigarettes -- after the latter decided he had no use for him.

With his two younger brothers -- Eric 'Lucky' (28) and Keith (24) -- both behind bars for murder, and no longer aligned to this powerful individual, John Wilson was vulnerable.

The Wilson brothers grew up in Cremona Road in Ballyfermot and were doted on by their mother, Kathleen.

All of them were teenagers when they first came to the attention of gardai.

Eric 'Lucky' Wilson, who is considered one of Ireland's most prolific killers, is serving 23 years' prison in Spain for murder. He is suspected of working for a number of Ireland's most dangerous mobs, including the northside crews led by slain crime lords Martin 'Marlo' Hyland and Eamon 'The Don' Dunne, as well as notorious hood Paul 'Burger' Walsh's drugs operation.

However he has always been closest to the same Dublin crimelord as his older brother.

Eric's luck began to run out after he shot dead British criminal Daniel Smith (24) in a Spanish bar in 2010.

Eric had been on the run from gardai since 2006. Gardai wanted to charge him in relation to a major firearms seizure in Co Carlow and also a serious assault in Co Laois in 2004.


Back in Ireland in 2010, the crimelord had been in dispute with the RIRA faction based in north Dublin led by Alan Ryan, who himself was murdered in Clongriffin at the start of this month.

At the centre of the dispute was money -- and it was this that led to John Wilson entering the Players Lounge pub in north Dublin and shooting three innocent people in July 2010.

John Wilson was there to kill Ryan: instead he almost killed three innocent people.

Doorman Wayne Barrett, from Finglas, and customers Austen Purcell and Brian Masterson were wounded as they stood near the doorway.

None of the three wounded people had any connection with illegal activity.

John Wilson was the only suspect. He was arrested, a file had been prepared and a decision on a charge was due soon.

The crimelord was furious and the extent of his failure was made clear to Wilson.

The feud between the Dublin crimelord and Ryan's RIRA continued to spiral out of control.

The situation worsened when the RIRA gang ordered the murder of Colm 'Collie' Owens (34) as he worked in an animal feed store in Finglas, north Dublin, just days later.

Gardai believe he was targeted because he was friendly with the Wilson brothers.

The chief suspect for shooting Owens was Daniel Gaynor.

The Ballyfermot mob decided Gaynor (25) had to be targeted, and on August 14, 2010, he was shot in the neck while walking on St Helena's Road with his girlfriend and two children.

Keith Wilson was enlisted by the crimelord to carry out the murder, as he could no longer trust his older brother John. But Keith left crucial evidence at the scene: gloves, a cap, a hoodie top and a gun.

These items were recovered by gardai and played a crucial role in the case against him.

Keith Wilson fled to Spain, but was later extradited to Ireland and subsequently convicted of Gaynor's murder.

The Dublin crimelord and the RIRA managed to patch up their differences; it is understood money changed hands.


During Keith Wilson's trial, his mother Kathleen attended every day. As did John Wilson, on one occasion making a chilling threat to a senior detective involved in the case.

But with both younger brothers behind bars, John Wilson was utterly alone.

And yesterday afternoon he was duly gunned down in the home he shared with his partner and children on Cloverhill Road in Cherry Orchard, west Dublin.