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'soft' target Son of murder victim Patrick Lyons left orphan after mum died three weeks ago

Paddy Lyons 'killed over €200 drugs debt' Shot dad 'didn't deserve what happened'

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'Pappy' Lyons

'Pappy' Lyons

'Pappy' Lyons

THE 10-YEAR-OLD son of the man gunned down in Ballymun on Thursday night has been left an orphan after it emerged his mother died less than three weeks ago.

Paddy 'Pappy' Lyons (44) was shot dead in the Belclare area, close to Poppintree and his family home.

He may have been killed over a drugs debt as small as €200, sources revealed.

His son's mother died suddenly but peacefully in the Mater Hospital on January 24.

A friend of Mr Lyons revealed how they had been watching television together only moments before he left and was murdered.

Tina Whitley said he had been worried about his son because he had been asking about his mother's death and was trying to come to terms with it.

"Apparently, the little lad was asking him questions, and Pappy was concerned about him. He was trying to help him and then he was killed. It's awful," she said.

"We were here watching True Crime on the television in my house, and then Pappy said he was going out. I said, 'Be careful', and then he went.

"The last thing I heard him say was, 'I won't be a minute'.

"Then I started getting messages that somebody had been shot. There were photos and videos going around, but I couldn't look at them. I prayed it wasn't him.

"Pappy got on well with everyone. We've been friends for 30 years.

"He was no saint, and I know he had his demons, but he wasn't that bad.

"He did a bit of shoplifting. He'd steal rashers and steaks and washing powder and things to sell quickly."

She said he would buy drugs with the money.

"I've wondered if it was mistaken identity, because I can't think why he would be shot," Ms Whitley said.

"He didn't say he was worried about anything or in trouble with anyone."

Mr Lyons was shot once in the head and three times in the chest in an attack gardaí said was "most likely" ordered by a local drug dealer "to put down a marker".

The dealer has not yet been identified, but a source said: "The indications are that this was a ruthless individual who was just trying to make a point about what happens to people who owe him money.

"This could well be a case of someone looking to cause terror among addicts in his own community."

Gardaí were not aware Mr Lyons was under any threat, and they had not felt the need to issue him with any security advice.

They believe the killer is local and fled on foot after the shooting.

Sources said the victim's criminal record could be best summed up by the fact a bench warrant for a minor shoplifting charge was in existence at the time of his murder.

"This unfortunate individual was a drug addict who was a victim of organised crime rather than a participant in it," the source added.

Mr Lyons was associated with Kinahan cartel hitman Trevor Byrne, who is serving nine years in jail for possession of a firearm, but sources said that was only because they knew each other growing up.

He was also on friendly terms with jailed serial burglar Matthew Fahey.

However, he had nothing like the criminal 'pedigree' of his former friends, and his relationship with them is not being investigated as a motive for his murder.

Mr Lyons grew up not far from where he was shot, and locals said that although he had his troubles, they were shocked to learn of his murder.

He was often seen playing football on the street with his son, and neighbours said they were saddened by his death.

"He had his troubles in the past, but he was just a petty thief. There's no way you would have thought he would end up being shot dead," one neighbour said.

Another added: "Pappy was very well known in the area and we'd see him out playing with his young lad. He didn't deserve what happened to him."

Mr Lyons was an only child, and locals said he was from a well-respected family.

"They are good people, and poor Pappy fell in with the wrong crowd. We desperately feel for his parents," a local man said.

"His father is in hospital at the moment and they have enough on their plate without this."

Mr Lyons' mother was being comforted last night by relatives.

Local TD Paul McAuliffe said the shooting was sad for the Lyons family and the ­ people of Ballymun.

"In the past, shootings like this have triggered other attacks, and we hope that will not be the case here," he said.

"We want to try and keep things cooled down and ensure there is a garda presence on the ground."

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