Ex-CAB target 'Bomber' now leads life of luxury with wife in UK

NewsBy Nicola Tallant
Joanne and Bomber stock up on designer gear
Joanne and Bomber stock up on designer gear

Meet the notorious Irish underworld figure who has swapped a life of crime for a life of luxury.

Two members of his family lie dead in gangland graves but Thomas Bomber Kavanagh is proof that it is better to get away from the brutal Dublin underworld.

His two cousins - drug dealing brothers Paul and Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh - paid the ultimate price for staying behind immersed in a life of crime.

Both were cut down by hitmen in two of the most high profile gang murders in the last year.

But while their families count the costs of their murders and associates swear revenge, we can reveal the amazing story of the cousin that got away.

Just outside Birmingham in a mansion fit for a Premier League footballer Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh and his wife Joanne live an extraordinary lifestyle.

It’s a stark contrast to the humble home Bomber once handed over to the Criminal Assets Bureau and to the life of crime he led in Dublin where he boasted links to the most senior members of the Fat Freddie Thompson gang.

Kavanagh's house in the UK

After paying up a tax demand more than a decade ago he shipped out of Ireland and now only returns to visit relatives.  They include his criminal brother-in-laws Liam and David Byrne, who are key members of the Thompson crew and who are suspected by Gardai of involvement in shipments of cocaine and weapons into Ireland.

‘Bomber’, 46, was once used to a world of crime.  He received a conviction for armed robbery back in the 1990s at the same time that his cousin ‘Hatchet’ landed a heroin rap.

Both were among the first targets of the Criminal Assets Bureau and both decided to flee Ireland after the crime crackdown that followed the murder of Veronica Guerin.

But while ‘Hatchet’ based himself in Benalmadena and set up a major drug supply route into Ireland with the Kinahan cartel, ‘Bomber’ moved to the UK where he has kept his head down ever since.

Just four years ago he and wife Joanne Byrne, daughter of the veteran mobster James ‘Jaws’ Byrne and sister of Thompson mob gangsters Liam and David, set up a car sales firm and as our pictures show they have clearly got the midas touch when it comes to business.

This week the Sunday World tracked the ex-pats down to this stunning pile in Tamworth, a wealthy suburb of Birmingham, populated by top businessmen and football millionaires. Bomber lives with wife Joanne and their four children on Sutton Road where a full-time  gardener tends to the manicured lawns and flower beds which  decorate their six-bedroomed detached home complete with an outdoor hot tub and bar.

Neighbours in the affluent suburb know Thomas and Joanne as a successful young couple who have done well from their car business, TK Motors, which has no premises and which is registered to an office block in Birmingham. But locals have no idea of their backgrounds or that the pair have dragged themselves from working class poverty on Dublin’s mean streets to mega wealth within a few short years.

He was one of the first major targets of the Criminal Assets Bureau and in July 1998, he and heroin kingpin George ‘The Penguin’ Mitchell were named together in court when the CAB were awarded High Court judgements against the pair.

Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh

Mitchell, who was at the time being held in a Dutch jail, was ordered to pay  €130,000 and, in a separate judgement, Kavanagh was told to pay a similar massive sum for the time.

In court, Bomber claimed his home on Knocknarea Road in Drimnagh was his only asset and he eventually was forced to hand it over to the Bureau. 
In 2000, when Liam Byrne was facing charges for a serious assault on a man outside a fast food shop in Crumlin, Bomber weighed in to offer his full support.

Moments after Byrne made an unsuccessful bail application a fight broke out and Bomber, wife Joanne and another of Byrne’s sisters, Melanie Johnson, were all arrested.

Joanne and her sister Melanie were released on bail, but Bomber was remanded in custody after the District Court heard he had threatened to kill a garda during the fight.

As an investigation into the incident proceeded, Bomber and Joanne decided to move to Birmingham to make a fresh start and for the next decade they watched from afar as a feud between their old associates headed by Fat Freddie raged with the Brian Rattigan side resulting in 17 murders.

As the drugs war raged in Ireland for control of Crumlin and Drimnagh - regarded as the most lucrative drugs patch in Ireland, the Kavanaghs have kept their distance.

In 2005, the couple bought their first house in the U.K. on Whitesands Road, but quickly upgraded to their current pad – a €1million property which our snaps show is eye-wateringly luxurious.

In 2010 Joanne registered as a director of a new company in the UK, called TK Motors, and her husband Bomber briefly appeared on the accounts as a secretary last year.

Business is obviously booming because when it comes to splashing the cash Bomber and Joanne are in a league of their own.

This week the Sunday World was watching as the couple took delivery of up to 10 high end motors bought at a UK car auction. The total value of the cars in their driveway one day last week was estimated around euro 800,000.

She treated the group to a week’s holidays at The Wynn Hotel where rooms would have cost her an incredible €20,000 for the stay.

Sources say that whenever he returns to Ireland, Bomber travels in top-of-the-range vehicles but never drives himself. At home in Birmingham, as our photographs show, Joanne prefers to use their €100,000 Range Rover Sport, while Bomber is regularly driven around in a brand new Mercedes A Class.

Just two years ago Joanne celebrated her 40th birthday in style when she splashed out on 23 of her closest gal pals and paid for them to accompany her on a first class trip to the most exclusive hotel in Vegas.

There she treated the group to a week’s holidays at The Wynn Hotel where rooms would have cost her an incredible €20,000 for the stay. First class flights, for all 23 guests, were also looked after by the Kavanaghs

Joanne’s pal Simoan McEnroe, who is the partner of Liam, and her mother Sadie were amongst the group which  went to Vegas for the party extravaganza.
Sources say that friends and family are used to the immense generosity of Joanne and ‘Bomber’ who regularly lavish them with gifts of eyewatering expense.