NewsCrime Desk

Gang may have buried multiple bodies in Dublin 'killing field'

Gang may have buried multiple bodies in Dublin 'killing field'

A suspected ‘killing field’ used by mobster Mr Big’s drugs gang was being excavated over the weekend after gardaí received information about the location of a missing criminal’s body.

Gardaí launched the dig early Saturday morning after a tip-off about the possible location of the grave of missing man Patrick Lawlor.

Patrick Lawlor

However, a source said detectives are also looking to see if there may be more victims buried in shallow graves in the field in the grounds of derelict Belcamp House in Clonshaugh as well.

Lawlor (23), from Darndale, north Dublin, was last seen leaving his family home at 6.30am on December 16, 2004.

It is believed he was shot dead by Mr Big’s drug gang after two kilos of cocaine went unpaid for after they were seized by Gardaí.

The mobster, who is facing serious criminal charges, is suspected of murdering a number of criminals whose bodies have never been found.

Mr Big

A source said that Gardaí recently carried out preliminary investigations and recovered evidence that showed firearms were used on the site.

“It is too early to say if there are any bodies there, but there are indications that there could be a number of sites that will have to be investigated,” the source said.

“This is a major dig and a forensic anthropologist has been brought in.”

Detectives believe Lawlor was met by appointment near Dublin Airport on the night he died and brought to the field and shot in the head.

The field is just off Dublin’s R139 road, which connects the Malahide Road to the M50 Roundabout.

Lawlor, originally from Buttercup Park in Darndale, was involved in the drugs trade but was not regarded as a major gangland criminal.

He suffered from a serious addiction to drugs and used crime to fund his habit.

After a number of convictions, he entered a treatment programme and got clean for a period of time.

However, after Lawlor relapsed he was hired by mobster Paschal Kelly and was used by his associates to deliver packages of cocaine.

Gardai searching for bodies

Kelly (50), who is currently serving a prison sentence for threatening to kill a CAB officer, and Mr Big were the leaders of one of the country’s biggest drugs gang before the pair fell out over drugs money. 

Lawlor’s family have sustained a high-profile campaign appealing for information about his whereabouts and have carried out a number of interviews in the national media.

His mother, Alice, previously admitted that she feared her son has been murdered.

She said: “Patrick would never let a few days pass without calling us to let us know that he is safe. I know that something dreadful has happened to him.

“I have got this feeling that Patrick is not coming home.

“He was only 23 years old and had his whole life ahead of him.”

It is believed that Lawlor was murdered after getting a phone call ordering him to go and meet a well-known criminal figure.

After he was reported missing, the car he was using at the time was found abandoned four days later at a layby at the back of Dublin airport.

Two years after the disappearance, Lawlor’s friend James Purdue was shot dead in a drug-related killing in Donaghmede, north Dublin.

A north-Dublin crime gang selling drugs across Dublin and Co. Meath and into the Border counties, lead by Mr Big, are also the main suspects in the Purdue murder.

Mr Big is currently at the centre of a major Criminal Assets Bureau investigation and is a close associate of Cartel hardman Paul Rice.

Gardaí believe he has amassed a fortune from drug dealing and tiger kidnappings, but claims to be an unemployed tradesman who is still living at home with his parents.

He is also believed to have piles of cash stored in safe locations which he doesn’t put through bank accounts.

Officers have caught associates of the gang boss with large sums of cash which they suspected were being held on his behalf.

Gardaí have also seized high-powered vehicles from Mr Big as part of their investigation into his finances.

As well as making lucrative profits from the drugs trade, Mr Big has made significant amounts from tiger kidnappings and other robberies.

Gardaí believe the feud between what is left of the crew linked to Ryan and Mr Big’s mob remains active.

A total of 240 gangalnd murders remain unsolved in Ireland since 1980 according to new figures released last month.

That includes 130 murders committed here in the last 10 years alone in which the killers have never been caught.