Barrister names Levi Killeen, teenage offspring of notorious criminal as assassin in Belfast
Levi Killeen, who was just 17 at the time of the hit, went with his uncle, Ger Dundon, and a third man, Quincy Bramble, to have a look at Lawlor three days before he was shot dead, a leading barrister has claimed.
But the trio, who were arrested in the aftermath of the shooting in April 2020, were let go without charge and the Belfast High Court heard this week that the PSNI has no evidence to link them to the killing.
Barrister Joe Brolly named the alleged hit team during a bail application for another client, 39-year-old Adrian Holland, who has been charged in relation to the murder.
Holland and co-accused Patrick Teer (47) are not suspected of carrying out the shooting but remain in custody charged as part of a joint enterprise to murder, based on their alleged involvement in its preparation.
During the application, Brolly set out a ‘theory’ in relation to the murder, saying that Lawlor was lured to the door of his Belfast safe-house prior to the shooting so the gunman could get sight of him for the first time.
The identification process, he said, happened at an apartment upstairs from a Tesco store on the University Road in South Belfast.
Brolly told the court that CCTV records back up the theory and show Ger Dundon, Quincy Bramble and Levi Killeen go to the property on April 1 – three days before the shooting.
“Two of them, Ger Dundon and Quincy Bramble, approached the flat while their accomplice, Levi Killeen, who had never previously met the intended target, kept his distance,” Brolly told the court.
“Lawlor comes to the front door of his apartment and Levi Killeen hangs back where he can’t be seen. That gave the gunman a look at Robbie Lawlor.”
During the bail hearing, prosecutors told the Judge that police have found no evidence that the trio were involved in his death.
“The three individuals Mr Brolly has pointed the finger at were considered at the outset. But there is no evidence to support them being involved in the murder, there is material that points away from that suggestion,” a crown lawyer stated.
It is understood that PSNI officers who nabbed Dundon, Quincy and Killeen in a car near the scene of the murder were of the belief that they were on Lawlor’s side and detectives had sought intelligence from An Garda Siochana as to their relationship.
The Sunday World can reveal how investigators believed that the Dundons had protected Lawlor in prison from his arch-rival Cornelius Price and had continued to offer him security once he was released.
However, within days of furnishing the details which resulted in the trio’s release, an elite Garda unit had set up a huge surveillance operation to catch a cash handover to Dundon associates understood to have been payment for the hit.
Months after the murder of Lawlor, Ger Dundon and Quincy Bramble were arrested along with Cornelius Price in the UK, confirming their alliance.
Bramble is before the courts there in relation to a kidnap charge, while Price remains in critical condition in hospital where he has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. While Dundon has not been named on the list of those charged, it is understood that he has changed his name by deed pole.
The strange set of circumstances that saw one version of intelligence furnished to the PSNI and the exact opposite play out in the aftermath of the Lawlor murder, is at the heart o Brolly’s claims and suggests secretive operations within the Gardai which mirror those that have frustrated the Hutch trial.
During the Regency investigation, it has become clear that units within Crime and Security were keeping their colleagues in the dark as to their activities, despite the fact they were directly related to the murder of David Byrne.
A culture of secrecy and with-holding intelligence vital to murder teams is slowly being exposed as a result of the two gangland hits in two different jurisdictions.
Levi Killeen is the son of killer John Dundon and his wife Ciara Killeen, whose brother Nathan is also serving life for murder.
John and Wayne Dundon terrorised Limerick for more than a decade as they went to war with rival drug mobs in the city. While Wayne, along with Nathan Killeen, is serving life for the murder of innocent publican Roy Collins, John is doing time for the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan, whose life was lost in a case of mistaken identity.
The strength of the Dundons had waned in recent years due to the amount of gang members behind bars, and the fact that their absence from the streets had allowed other gangs rise.
However, the shooting of Robbie Lawlor threw them right back to gangland centre stage. When Ger Dundon was arrested following the feared thug’s murder, the PSNI were operating on a clear message that he was ‘friends’ with Lawlor and had protected him while he was in jail.
However, it is suspected that the Dundons had plotted a spectacular double-cross to kill Lawlor.
The crown prosecution have told the bail hearing that police have no evidence that the Dundon trio were involved in the murder despite the theory outlined in Brolly’s submission.
During the murder investigation co-operation occurred between An Garda Siochana and the PSNI and the intelligence passed up to Northern Ireland may have steered the decision to release the three.
However, days later an intelligence-led garda surveillance operation was in place when the suspected hit money was handed over.
This week, the High Court in Belfast was told that Lawlor had travelled to the North as he feared for his life and was staying in a flat above the supermarket.
The hearing was told that he is believed to have shot and paralysed Owen Maguire, a boss in the Drogheda-based Maguire gang. He is also believed to have carried out the gruesome murder of teenager Keane Mulready Woods, with the feud forming the backdrop to his eventual contract killing.
A cash payment, the court heard, was allegedly made to associates of the Limerick based McCarthy-Dundon gang for services rendered in luring him to his death.
According to Brolly, this ‘three man hit team’ were intercepted by the police following the shooting but were released and allowed to leave Northern Ireland.
He claims that while they were allowed go, in contrast the case against his client, Mr Holland is ‘perilously weak.’
The court is to decide on bail.