| 5.3°C Dublin

Assassination Over 20 suspects identified in murder probe of gang boss Lawlor, court is told


Robbie Lawlor

Robbie Lawlor

Robbie Lawlor

MORE than 20 suspects have been identified as part of the investigation into the murder of Irish gangland boss Robbie Lawlor, a court heard.

International drug dealers are believed to have been involved in planning his assassination, with threats issued against anyone who assists the police probe, a judge was told.

Details emerged yesterday as bail was refused to a 45-year-old man accused of carrying out "research and logistics" around the killing in north Belfast.

Patrick Teer, from Thornberry Hill in the city, is one of two men charged with Lawlor's murder.

The 36-year-old Dublin criminal was gunned down outside a house at Etna Drive in the Ardoyne area on April 4.


Lawlor crime scene

Lawlor crime scene

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Lawlor crime scene

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police believe Lawlor was shot dead when he attended a pre-arranged meeting at 37-year-old co-accused Adrian Holland's home.

It was claimed the victim went there to collect cash following a prior meeting at a Tesco store in Crumlin, Co Antrim the previous day.

A gunman emerged from the property and opened fire, hitting him several times. He died at the scene.

Originally from Dublin, Lawlor was reported to have been involved in a feud between rival Drogheda-based factions.

He had been linked to the abduction and murder of a 17-year-old in January.

The gunman fled down side streets to Kingston Court, where a Volkswagen Scirocco, stolen from Co Roscommon in January and left there as a potential getaway car, was instead set on fire, the court heard.

An Audi vehicle parked on the Oldpark Road is believed to have been used in the gunman's escape.

It was later found burnt out in the Crumlin area.

Teer was allegedly "instrumental" in moving the Volkswagen and Audi into the Ardoyne area on March 31.

Days before the murder, he used his own mobile phone to carry out research on Lawlor and his movements, the detective claimed.

Holland and another suspect were said to have met at the Sligo Park Hotel in March.

"That stay was organised and paid for by Patrick Teer," the detective contended.

Following the murder, police alleged, Teer met up with Holland to arrange their story and organise a forensic "clean-up" before they travelled to Sligo.

Based on phone data, the detective alleged: "Throughout the course of this period in terms of planning, preparation and execution of the murder, Patrick Teer is in contact not only with Adrian Holland but also some international drug dealers and members of a very significant organised crime gang.

"Ultimately it's our view that Mr Teer has been instrumental in this murder, and without his involvement it couldn't have happened."

A prosecution barrister raised suspected links to domestic and international organised crime gangs.

"There are in excess of 20 suspects in this case, most of whom reside outside of the UK," she said.

Counsel also alleged a threat has been issued against anyone who assists the police investigation.

The barrister disclosed that Holland has been issued with a threat message since the killing, and suggested the same could now happen with Teer.

Defence barrister Sean Devine countered that the police case against Teer boiled down to his association with co-accused Holland.

Mr Devine insisted his client has a clear record and will have a "complete answer" to the charges he faces.

Denying bail, however, Judge Fiona Bagnall cited the risk of re-offending and interference with witnesses.

She remanded Teer in custody to appear again on January 8.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices