NewsCrime Desk

Riot squad called in just before fatal knife attack

Robert Ellis (left) pictured with armed robber Lee McDonnell
Robert Ellis (left) pictured with armed robber Lee McDonnell

GARDAI had planned to call in the riot squad at a Halloween bonfire shortly before a man was stabbed to death in a row.

Robert Ellis (25), a pal of well-known criminal Lee McDonnell, was killed after being chased from a bonfire at St Mark’s housing estate in Clondalkin, Dublin, by four people at about 3.10am on Tuesday.

Associates of two criminal brothers known as the ‘Kray Twins’ are suspected of carrying out the attack.

The young father had gone over to the bonfire to have a few drinks shortly before 11pm that night. Around the same time, a Garda patrol car that approached the bonfire was stoned by a number of young men.

The gardai withdrew from the area and called for back-up. A second squad car was subsequently stoned by the gang.

The Public Order Unit was called to the area but a decision was taken not to deploy them. Ellis, who had several convictions for drugs and violence, was at the bonfire at the time.

Four hours later he was chased from the scene and made his way to the back garden of a house at Liscarne Gardens.

He banged on the back door of the property and the owner called gardai, believing someone was trying to break in.

Robert Ellis and Lee McDonald

However, the gang followed him and stabbed him a number of times. He died at the scene.

It is understood that two girls were among the gang who followed Ellis to the garden but it is not believed they were involved in the attack.

The main suspect is a local man who has links to the two criminal brothers known as the ‘Kray Twins’. Ellis had been in dispute with the pair and was involved in an incident where he planned to attack them, but went into the wrong house.

Ellis and his fiancée Sarah Hardiman were injured when a gunman opened fire on them outside a house in Grange View estate in Clondalkin in March last year.

The hitman fired five shots from a handgun in the attack, hitting Sarah in the arm and Ellis in the stomach. 

He had been warned in the weeks before about a threat against his life.

It is believed he survived because the gun used in the attack was a low-calibre weapon.

Ellis has close links to notorious criminal Lee McDonnell, who went on the run in December 2014 after he escaped from a prison van that had stopped for food following a prison visit.

McDonnell, who is serving a 10-year sentence for a number of violent crimes, including armed robbery, was recaptured in Ronanstown in January.

Ellis, who served time in prison with McDonnell, is believed to have met up with the thug while he was on the run.