TURF WAR | 

Slain drugs boss Mark ‘The Chicken’ Lovell was relative of murdered super-crook Paddy Farrell

Paddy Farrell was blasted to death in bizarre circumstances by a jealous lover 25 years ago

Murdered by his lover: Paddy Farrell

Lorraine Farrell

Hugh JordanSunday World

Slain drugs boss Mark ‘The Chicken’ Lovell was a common law relative of murdered super-crook Paddy Farrell, the Sunday World can reveal.

58 year-old Lovell was gunned down in a heroin turf war when rival dealers on the border thought he was getting too big for his boots.

But we have learned the murdered drugs baron’s first foray into the money-spinning sale of narcotics was as a courier for deceased drugs baron Paddy Farrell.

A Customs & Excise source said: “Our officers regularly stopped Lovell driving back to Newry. He drove a top-of-the range car, but the vehicles were always registered to Paddy Farrell.”

Farrell - who rose to control one of Ulster’s largest drugs empires - suffered a similar fate to his protégé. He was blasted to death in bizarre circumstances by a jealous lover 25 years ago.

A married father of three, Farrell was gunned down with a shotgun fired by his girlfriend Lorraine Farrell, moments before she took her own life with the same weapon.

Lorraine Farrell

It is thought the 29 year-old glamour girl believed her married lover - who was 20 years her senior - was about to dump her before moving to the United States with his wife.

But Lorraine was completely besotted by Farrell. And she planned a horrific murder-suicide plot which she hoped would result in her sharing eternity with the love of her life.

Murdered by his lover: Paddy Farrell

Just days before, she purchased a plot in the local cemetery and she also bought a shotgun from a gun dealer.

And luring her semi-naked and blind-folded boyfriend to a bedroom in her mother’s home in Drogheda, Lorraine led Paddy Farrell to believe he was being lined up for a kinky sex session.

But without a word of warning, Lorraine Farrell produced the shotgun and blasted the millionaire drugs baron on side of the head, before turning the weapon on herself.

The double-death incident on September 10 1997 sent shockwaves through the border counties. At first, police wrongly believed Farrell and his lover had been killed by republican paramilitaries or a rival drugs gang.

A one-time lorry driver, Paddy Farrell had established himself as a top cross border crime boss. He dealt mainly in drugs and stolen plant hire.

At one stage, Farrell was in partnership with the notorious criminal Cyril McGuinness, also known as ‘Dublin Jimmy’.

From Swords in north Co. Dublin, McGuinness died of a heart attack during a police raided his home in the north of England. He was being detained in connection with violence and intimidation linked to the Sean Quinn dispute in Fermanagh.

But Farrell also ran a legitimate cross-channel transport company from a base in Peckham in west London. It gave him excellent cover to build up his criminal empire.

Back in Newry, Farrell moved his wife Anne and their three children into a large mansion on the Dublin Road.

And he began recruiting drivers capable of smuggling cannabis, cocaine and e tabs back to Northern Ireland.

One of them was Roma gypsy Mark ‘The Chicken’ Lovell.

Originally from the Bog Meadow in Belfast, Lovell settled in the border area after taking up with a Warrenpoint woman called Eileen Hughes.

Eileen was from Burn outside the seaside town and her mother was a sister of Paddy Farrell’s wife Anne.

Mark Lovell and Eileen Hughes had two children together, Whitney and Ebony. But they are both known by their mother’s name.

Other drivers working for Farrell, included Brendan ‘Speedy’ Fegan and Paul ‘Bull’ Downey, both were later executed by the IRA in separate incidents in Newry.

Fegan was shot dead in the Hermitage Bar and Downey was gunned down in the car park of the Canal Court Hotel. The killings were part of an IRA initiative to wipe out wealthy drugs dealers.

Another Newry man Ronnie Smith - who passed away last week - served time in Spanish and Irish jails after he was caught transporting drugs for Paddy Farrell.

But before moving into the drugs industry, Mark ‘The Chicken’ Lovell operated with a gang of desperadoes known as ‘The Granny Robbers’.

Their modus operandi was breaking into the homes of elderly couples and stealing their possessions, right down to the rings on their fingers.

But after Paddy Farrell death, Lovell spotted an opportunity to move into the drugs business on his own.

The 58 year-old soon became a leading figure in a new gang dealing mainly in cocaine, cannabis and heroin.

Known as the ‘dirty drug’ heroin is fast becoming the drug of choice in Newry and the border counties.

“The Chicken was knocking out heroin at a furious rate.” a local with his finger on the pulse told this newspaper.

“But the bigger he got, the more he angered his competitors.” he added.

Last week, the Sunday World revealed Lovell’s fate was sealed when a group of dealers from Newry and south Armagh met in a hotel near the border to discuss how to take him out.

A Newry dealer, who operates from a luxury apartment in Malahide, Co. Dublin, was pushing for Lovell and his son Ebony to be executed.

Two other drugs barons, who are have interests in the beauty industry in the city, also advocated lethal action against Lovell and his son.

Last month, Ebony Hughes narrowly escaped with his life when he took to his heels and fled through the Abbey School Yard in Newry, as a would-be assassins honed in on him.

Earlier last week, the Sunday World spotted Ebony Hughes on his own near Carlingford, Co. Louth.

His father Mark Lovell wasn’t so fortunate though. He was slightly injured in an attack at his home in Tom Bellew Avenue, Dundalk. His dog was shot dead in the same incident.

But Lovell’s enemies were determined to kill him. And he was soon back in their sights.

Two weeks ago, Lovell was gunned down as he pulled up in his car outside his daughter’s home at Ardcarn Park in the Carnagatt area of Newry.

The dugs boss was shot repeatedly and died at the scene. It is believed two gunmen got away scot-free.

Last week, police activity in the border area has been relentless with several arrests made in connection with the Lovell killing.

And last Wednesday, Mark Lovell’s daughter Whitney Hughes - who was in custody on serious drugs charges - was granted compassionate bail to attend her father’s funeral.

Whitney Hughes is facing 14 charges including 12 relating to possession and supplying cocaine, heroin, cannabis and amphetamine.

Two further charges relate to possession of criminal cash and possession of counterfeit football tops.

A police officer objected to bail outlining concerns over further offences being committed.

He told the court: “We believe that there’s an ongoing feud in Newry and south Armagh for the supply of drugs and releasing her into that, to an address that’s been identified by a rival faction, is a risk that we cannot manage.”

But granting compassionate bail for the weekend, judge Eamon King ordered Hughes’s mother to sign a surety of £10,000 and a separate £500 cash surety to be lodged with the court.

hjordan.media@btinternet.com


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