NewsCrime Desk

Death of 'Fat' Freddie's associate not being treated as suspicious

Crime DeskBy Shuki Byrne
Deceased: Eugene Cullen
Deceased: Eugene Cullen

The death of a gangland figure serving a life sentence for his part in a murder is not being treated as suspicious, sources have said.

An investigation has been launched into the death of Eugene Cullen, who was found unresponsive in his cell at Midlands Prison. 

"He was found in an unresponsive condition by prison officers shortly before 9am and was later pronounced dead by a doctor," a jail source said.

Despite his links to a Dublin-based gang authorities said his death is not being treated as suspicious at this time. 

Cullen, who was from Crumlin, was serving a life sentence for his part in the murder of Seamus O' Byrne (27) at Tymon Park North, Tallaght, on March 13, 2009. His partner Sharon Rattigan was also shot in the leg during the attack. 

Victim Sharon is the sister of jailed gang boss Brian Rattigan, who is serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder that started the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud.

While Bray criminal Garret O'Brien was the trigger man in the O' Byrne murder, and is serving a life sentence for it, a jury found that Cullen knowingly participated in the incident and had met at a hotel with a number of plotters for the purpose of planning and executing the murder.

During the case, the prosecution alleged that Cullen was one of four men who, leading up to the incident, were involved in plotting, planning and executing the murder.

Gardai regarded Cullen as a key member of 'Fat' Freddie Thompson's drug gang and he has played a significant role in the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud. He was extradited on foot of a European Arrest Warrant from Amsterdam in 2012 after spending three years in the city. Since his arrest he had been incarcerated. 

He is believed to have targeted O'Byrne because of his lifelong friendship with rival mob boss Brian Rattigan.

In court, Sharon Rattigan - the sister of Brian Rattigan - told how she was living with O' Byrne and two children in Tymon Park North for a year.

She told Mr Alex Owens SC, prosecuting she and her partner planned to go out that night and she was going to leave her son down to her mother’s house to be babysat.

She said she put her son in the baby seat of the cars while Mr O’Byrne had just closed the hall door. Ms Rattigan told the court she saw a man coming up the garden in dark clothes pulling up his hood and said she saw a gun in his right hand.

“He turned at Seamus and started shooting his gun,” she said.

Ms Rattigan said she heard five bangs and when she ran to try and stop him she was shot in the leg.

 “When I ran at him he shot me in the leg then I grabbed him because I thought he was going to shoot me again,” she said. She said she grabbed the gun and they struggled and fell over the garden wall.

Ms Rattigan said he kept hitting her over the head with the gun and he was saying: “give me the gun ya bitch”.

“He was whacking off me head,” she told the court. She told the court she saw his face as he was getting over the wall.

 “He was very pale and his eyes were bulging at me,” she said. Ms Rattigan said as soon as she got the gun she threw it in the front seat of her car and that the man ran off. 

“It felt like it went on for ages,” she said. Ms Rattigan said she tried to help Mr O’ Byrne who was lying on the ground.

She was taken to hospital by ambulance but did not know her partner was dead at that time.