NewsCrime Desk

Costa mob's hitman now linked to murders of 'Don' Dunne and Hatchet Kavanagh

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
Fallout: Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh and Christy Kinahan
Fallout: Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh and Christy Kinahan

Gardai believe that an assassin arrested in connection with the murder of crime boss Eamon ‘the Don’ Dunne may have been the gunman used by the Kinahan mob to kill Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh too.

 Both were blasted to death in packed pubs and, in both cases, nobody else was injured, which is a measure of how skilled and collected the shooter was.

The Dubliner, who is an associate of Daniel Kinahan, is also under investigation for any involvement in the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain in September – although it is understood he may have had a more advisory role.

It is understood that he, along with other members of the Kinahan cartel based in Ireland, are living in fear of a backlash for the murder of the young nephew of Gerry ‘the Monk’ Hutch and have moved their families to secret locations.

Gary Hutch was once part of a tight-knit group of pals which included Daniel Kinahan, Gary Finnegan and an inner-city gym owner, but he fell out with his former associates when he was accused of being a rat.

The suspected ‘in-house’ Kinahan hitman was one of a number of people arrested and quizzed about the murder of Dunne who was killed in the Fassaugh House pub in Dublin in April 2010, in what was described as the “perfect hit”.

Gardai suspect that the crime lord, who had ordered up to 17 murders himself, was taken out on the orders of the Kinahan mob and by their best assassin, who is a married man with young children and based in Dublin.

Now the same gunman has been linked to the murder of drug dealer Kavanagh on the terrace of Harmon’s Bar in Marbella last summer – a killing so brutal it shocked even hardened detectives on the Costa.

Incredibly, a Spanish court shelved its investigation of the murder unsolved, saying they had failed to identify the two gunmen who shot the enforcer nine times in the packed bar.

CCTV footage of the incident was copied and sent back to Ireland and showed two masked men carry out the killing in cold blood.

Officers here suspect that the Dublin man, a fitness fanatic who is believed to regularly train at shooting ranges, is one of the duo.

They are also investigating whether he has any links with the shooting of Paul Kavanagh – Hatchet’s youngest brother – last March in Dublin.

In all incidents the same modus operandi was used and in all cases there was a high level of intelligence as regards the movement of the target and the disposal of the getaway vehicles.

Hutch’s murder in an apartment complex is now also the focus of a probe and officers are looking for links with the other murders.

In the case of Hutch, however, key members of the Kinahan mob, including Daniel Kinahan, were not in Spain on the day of the murder in order to secure an alibi.

Gardaí believe that the Kinahan’s were wary of any backlash to the killing by associates of Hutch in Dublin and wanted to make out that they had nothing to do with it.

However, the optics haven’t worked and earlier this month two men, believed to be Hutch associates, tried to murder Liam Roe, a key Kinahan heavy in an incident at the Red Cow Hotel in Dublin.

The shooting of the Don marked a new era for the Kinahan drug machine and marked their place at the top of the ladder of organised crime.

It also marked out their chief assassin as an expert in his field.

Dunne was sitting on a bar stool at his favourite pub in Cabra when his killer calmly walked in and told other terrified punters to “get down on the floor”.

Two shots to the head and three others were pumped into his vital organs before the killer and his accomplices fled.

The murder, within the bloody world of gangland, was spectacular and showed a confidence and calmness rarely seen in a hitman.

It also showed that the Kinahan Cartel were at the very top of the drugs food chain. In sanctioning the hit of one of their own it gave them a ruthless reputation and sent out a clear message that everyone is a potential target.

Many took advantage from the death. A crime lord known only as ‘Mr Big’ – a product of the Kinahan cartel – quickly cemented himself as the northside’s biggest drug dealer. It is understood he has tried to go it alone and cut out the Kinahan mob from his day-to-day dealings – something which is not acceptable to the mob.

The Sunday World understands that in recent months Gardaí have linked the hits of Eamon Dunne and Hatchet Kavanagh, as both were very similar in their locations and how they were carried out.

It is suspected the same hitman may have done both. The Dubliner was swept up in the Operation Shovel investigation into the Kinahan cartel and was one of many associates who was quizzed in a multi-agency offensive against the mob.

He is a close friend of Daniel Kinahan as well as a skilled killer who is paid to work as an assassin. He is an avid boxer who spends months at a time in Spain and has been seen training at the MGM facility in Marbella which is owned by boxer Matthew Macklin.