August 28th, 2014

Gang boss ordered hit on Tommy Crossan in row over money

Northern IrelandBy Paula Mackin
Tommy Crossan
Tommy Crossan
Fuel depot where Tommy Crossan was shot dead
Fuel depot where Tommy Crossan was shot dead

Former Continuity IRA boss Tommy Crossan was executed on the orders of the same blood hungry criminal responsible for the murder of Kieran McManus.

 

Dissident contacts have informed the Sunday World that Crossan was assassinated by the same killer gang controlled by a west Belfast man he once viewed as a personal friend but who vowed on April 6 last year to kill him.

Using the same MO used in the killing of pizza delivery driver McManus one year ago Crossan was approached by a gang of three armed men at his place of work, just as he was finishing his shift and gunned down.

He was sitting in a Portakabin at the fuel business he helped run at the Peter Pan complex on Belfast’s Springfield Road when he was approached shortly before 5pm on Friday evening.

The Sunday World understands the gangland-style assasination was carried out on the orders of a crime boss once a close associate of Crossan’s.

The 43-year-old father of six and grandfather to five died at the scene.

Police in an appeal for information yesterday described the kiling as “brutal and savage.”   Detective Superintendant Jonathan Roberts said Crossan had been known to detectives but that no-one deserved to die in such a barbaric manner.

He refused to be drawn on a motive but said they were following several lines of inquiry and looking at relationship with former CIRA comrades.

“There is a family suffering today and we would appeal for anyone who has information to get  in touch.”

The Sunday World can reveal that the one-time top dog dissident was gunned almost a year to the day since his former crime boss pal vowed to take him out.

The killing was a carbon copy of the circumstances surrounding the death of 26-year-old McManus who had just finished his nights work at Domino’s pizza place in Kennedy Way before being ambushed by a three man hit team.

In both murders the getaway cars were dumped just streets from the murder scene.

 Crossan was kicked out of the CIRA after being accused of theft and of lining his own pockets under the guise of being a republican. He was also named as a police informers. 

Crossan then forged strong links with the CIRA in Limerick after leaving Belfast temporarily, however it was reported last year on a website that he had been expelled from that organisation too.

Most recently he aligned himself with new grouping the Irish Republican Volunteers yet Oglaigh na hEireann ordered quickly ordered the IRV’s to stand down. 

However it has been said Crossan accepted this order and there was no bad blood between him and ONH ruling them out being potentially involved in his gruesome demise. 

This is due mainly to the fact Crossan remained close pals with ONH boss Carl Reilly who he served time in Maghaberry prison with for their role in a gun attack on Woodburn Barracks in West Belfast in 1999.

“The murders are almost identical, so is the timing,” said one dissident source. “It’s believed that it is the same gang who killed McManus, that is the most likely scenario at the minute.”

The man believed to be responsible has had links to both the CIRA and the INLA. He also had personal grudges against both Crossan and McManus.

“This guy is a hard nut, he is ruthless and he has proven once again he will take out anyone who gets in his way or displeases him in anyway. 

“Crossan and him have had bad blood for years and it was only a matter of time before he caught up with him and McManus, He (Crossan) had done things that he wasn’t happy with, simple as that,” said one dissident source.

In the aftermath of the murder of father of one McManus last March, a statement was issued by a group purporting  to be the CIRA claiming the murder.

It was immediately dismissed by senior dissident sources who claimed the statement was released under the CIRA’s name to throw suspicion away from the real killers who murdered for personal revenge.

An old code word from many years ago was used however his was explained by the fact the ruthless gang boss was a member of the terror group when the codeword was in circulation.

“Nobody believed the CIRA as a group killed Kieran McManus, he was killed by people who were once affiliated with the group just like Tommy Crossan was on Friday afternoon.

“It looks like it’s the same men, the same gang made up of former INLA and CIRA members who have chosen to dedicate their lives to criminality. It’s only a matter of time before the CIRA claim Crossan’s murder as well but the dogs on the street know who killed him. 

“He was killed by his own and it was only a matter of time before that happened,” the source said.

Crossan fell out with the man believed to have masterminded his demise in 2011 after a row over money. As time progressed the pair came to hate each other with his former friend vowing to kill him on April 6 last year.

Almost exactly 12 months later Tommy Crossan lay in a pool of his own blood after being shot several times, twice in the head at close range.

The godfather has, in the past,  also made death threats to Crossan’s criminal pal Christopher ‘Cricky’ Notarantonio and  ‘Fat’ Deccy Smith who was gunned down in Dublin last month.

Only one of his three named targets has been left standing.

McManus was known  for his involvement in a brutal street brawl in Turf lodge which resulted in him being expelled from the area and moving to Crumlin.

Along with his elder brother Joseph he was accused of the attempted murder of Michael Smith who almost lost an arm in the two hour long  fight in April 2010.

He was handed an 18 months suspended sentence in relation to the offence.

Fat Deccy Smith was named as a target after being named for his role in the murder of CIRA members Joe Jones and Ed Burns and for stealing cash from the CIRA.

Like Crossan, who was also accused of theft and of lining his own pockets under the guise of being a republican, he was also named as a police informer.

Last night Crossan’s six children were preparing for the hardest role of their lives, mourners for their own father.

DS Roberts said detectives are particularly keen to trace the movements of a red BMW car registration OEZ 9177 which was found burnt out a few streets from the scene at Beechmount Grove.

Police had arrested a 26-year-old man over the murder of former dissident republican leader Tommy Crossan.

The man was arrested in west Belfast and was being questioned at an Antrim police station.