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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Banker link to Panda murder

18:58 |


FORMER bank worker holds the key to the murder of one of the country’s most feared drugs barons, ‘the Panda’. Michael ‘Micka’ Kelly died in a hail of bullets in broad daylight as he was targeted by two ruthless brothers who control the Real IRA in Dublin. Now detectives believe an ex banker – known as ‘Jewie’ – who was Kelly’s righthand man, witnessed the murder and then fled the scene. The Real IRA hitmen shot ‘the Panda’ with a handgun and a high powered rifle and then drove over their slain victim’s head. “Jewie is in a state of shock. He knows they would have killed him as well if they could. He is in a very vulnerable place now that Kelly has been murdered,” said a source. The Real IRA had their victim under surveillance for the past two weeks from an apartment in the Clongriffin complex where the murder took place. Officers initially thought there was a firefight when bullet holes were discovered in the killers’ getaway car. Now detectives have established the bullet holes were fired from the inside-out and caused by the gunmen letting off shots within the vehicle. The 30-year-old ‘Panda’ died in a hail of bullets fired from a high-powered rifle at 1.15pm Thursday outside apartments at Clongriffin,north Dublin. Officers were working on the theory that pals of drug dealer Anthony Foster – murdered by the Panda's mob in 2008 – enlisted the Real IRA to carry out yesterday’s murder. Less than an hour after he was shot dead and his body driven over, the home of a female associate of Anthony Foster was raided by armed detectives. No arrests were made and nothing of significance was found, but sources say that gardai searched the property because they believe that Foster's associates ordered the revenge murder of Kelly. The young woman whose home was raided also has links to the notorious band of brothers from Donaghmede who are considered the leaders of the Real IRA in Dublin. Kelly – who made a fortune from drug dealing – is understood to have a major property portfolio which includes apartments in Dubai and Spain. He had spent most of the last year living in Spain's Costa-Del-Crime but had returned to his home patch in recent weeks after his girlfriend gave birth to a baby boy, the thug's third child. It is understood that he had just visited this child yesterday when he was blasted to death. Originally from Swans Nest Road, Kilbarrack, Kelly and his mob were suspected of a savage attack on an innocent man in a Northside pub just a fortnight ago which left the victim hospitalised. Gardai are hoping to conduct further interviews today of The Panda's driver who spotted the hit squad seconds before Kelly came out of the apartment block at Marrsfield Avenue. This man – a loyal and key associate of Kelly – is nicknamed Jewie and is a former bank employee. He fled the scene shortly after his pal was gunned down. Jewie now holds all the secrets – not only about yesterday’s murder but of also of the location of the hundreds of thousands of euro that ‘The Panda’ has hidden away. Gardai believe Kelly's murder was well planned and that his killers had very accurate information about his movements and had him under surveillance for some time. The gangster was paranoid about his movements and knew that his life was under threat because of his involvement in a string of other gangland murders in the last five years. Execution Yesterday's execution is considered the most significant gangland murder since Eamon ‘The Don' Dunne was shot dead in a Cabra pub in April 2010. Kelly had links to ‘The Don' and, like Eamon Dunne, dozens of gangland rivals wanted him dead. With Kelly a major target for gardai for years, the High Court gave the Criminal Assets Bureau permission in December to seize a house and two cars which were owned by him. The house, at Boyne View, Navan, Co Meath, and cars were sold and the proceeds will be transferred to State coffers. In December 2008, he was the target of a major raid by specialist Garda units, including the Criminal Assets Bureau. Twelve properties were searched as part of a major investigation into the proceeds of drug-dealing in north Dublin. Kelly – who loved fast cars and women – had barely any major criminal convictions and never served any jail time. His most serious conviction dates from 2000 when he was given a three-year suspended sentence after being caught with a haul of ecstasy tablets. ‘The Panda’ ordered the murder of his pal Anthony Foster in July 2008 as apart of a bitter drugs dispute. Foster's murder deeply upset his associates who are now believed to have paid a Real IRA murder squad up to €100,000 to kill Kelly yesterday. Sources say that the “completely ruthless nature” of the Real IRA thugs can be seen by the fact that The Panda had himself employed the exact same thugs to murder his gangland rival Sean Winters in Portmarnock last September.

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