Court sees video of shooting in `hitman' trial

 

A VIDEO of a hitman shooting his intended target before being himself shot by police marksmen was shown to an Old Bailey jury in London yesterday.

The shooting was filmed by undercover detectives who were secretly monitoring the movements of Mr Michael Boyle, who is from Dublin, after he had told the Garda of a planned assassination.

His target was Mr Tony Brindle (32), a member of a south London family "well known to police", involved in a murderous feud with another family who recruited Mr Boyle, it is alleged.

In the video, Mr Boyle (48) was seen to fire three shots from his specially modified Nissan van, which was parked outside Mr Brindle's house in Christopher Close, Rotherhithe, south east London, on September 20, 1995.

Two shots were directed through the open driver's side window, from which Mr Boyle had removed the wing mirror to broaden his "field of fire", while a third shot shattered the windscreen on its way through.

Carrying a high-powered Browning semi-automatic pistol -and wearing a wig to disguise his baldness, Mr Boyle was then seen to leap from the van.

He pursued his retreating victim, who fled back towards his home, "obviously intent on finishing him off", the prosecution alleged.

Mr Brindle, a father of two, was shot twice, one bullet hitting his left elbow then his lower chest, the second passing through his thighs. But armed police from Scotland Yard's Firearms Squad, S019, disguised as British Gas workmen, then opened fire on Mr Boyle with 14 rounds, hitting him five times.

Mr Nigel Sweeney, prosecuting, said: "The policemen in the gas van realised the shooting was taking place and they got out of their van and challenged Boyle.

"They thought as they did so that he fired at Mr Brindle and he certainly did not stop at their challenge. Each officer then fired.

"Boyle turned towards them and they, fearing for their lives, continued firing.

"They continued firing after he had fallen and once he was on the ground, believing he was still carrying his gun."

Police shouts of "All units attack" could be distinctly heard on the video soundtrack as Mr Boyle was shot down, then lay in convulsions on the ground before being surrounded by S019 officers carrying rifles.

Mr Boyle was shot in the right forearm, left elbow, chest, left heel and between the shoulder blades.

The injured men were rushed to separate hospitals. Both survived the shootings.

Police searched Mr Boyle's Nissan van after the shooting and found a Magnum revolver, which fires a bullet at a similar speed to the Browning - 350 metres per second - and can kill at a mile.

They also found petrol, which the prosecution says was to be used to burn the van, and a shovel, which Mr Sweeney said was to be used to bury the weapon used by Mr Boyle.

The shooting of Mr Brindle was the culmination of a carefully planned assassination attempt by Mr Boyle and his co-defendant, Mr David Roads (52), it is alleged.

Mr Roads is accused of acting as armourer and "quartermaster" to the hitman, providing him with guns, ammunition, stolen cars and safe houses.

When arrested by the Garda in Dublin some time before the shooting on an unrelated matter for which he was later discharged, Mr Boyle told officers about a plot to kill at least three members of the Brindle family.

He also told them about a continuing feud between the Brindles and a family headed by a man called Peter Daly, but did not tell them it was he, Mr Boyle, who was to be the hitman in an assassination attempt.

The Garda told Mr Boyle, who was acting as one of their informers, to "distance himself" from the plot after he asked to be paid £20,000 sterling for his information.

However, he continued his involvement, unaware, said the prosecution, that his movements were being monitored by the South East Regional Crime Squad

Mr Boyle (48), of Tyrconnel Road, Dublin, denies attempted murder and two firearm offences.

The trial continues.