West Dublin murder: gardaí believe attackers waited for victim

Darragh Nugent shot multiple times outside his home after front door was kicked in

Gardaí are appealing for assistance from the public as they investigate the shooting dead of Darragh Nugent (36) on Wheatfield Avenue in Clondalkin, Dublin. Video: Jack Power


Gardaí suspect two or three men carried out the shooting that killed Darragh Nugent (36) outside his home in west Dublin on Monday night.

At least two of Mr Nugent’s young children and his partner were in the house on Wheatfield Avenue in Neilstown when he was shot and killed in the front garden.

The dead man was known to gardaí and was involved in the drugs trade and gun crime.

While the motive for Monday night’s murder is not clear, gardaí have not ruled out the possibility it is in some way linked to two other gun murders in the area in recent years. In August 2013, two men were shot dead within days of each other in Clondalkin, west Dublin.

Dean Johnson (21), Greenfort Lawns, Clondalkin, was shot dead on Harelawn Green. Five days later Jason Carroll (39) was shot as he tried to run to the safety of his nearby home on Cherrywood Drive.

Gardaí believe friends of Johnson’s believed Carroll was involved in his murder and they shot him in revenge.

The chief suspect for the murder of Carroll is currently in prison serving a lengthy sentence for gangland-related crime. That man was a close friend of Darragh Nugent’s.

Gardaí are trying to establish whether the dispute has flared again and taken Nugent’s life.

Kinahan crime gang

Some of those involved in the local feud are linked to the Kinahan crime gang. However, none of the three killings in the area were as a result of the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

Nugent had come to the attention of the Garda in the past. Earlier this year a young trainee garda apprehended him after a chase on foot through a west Dublin park. A firearm was found that gardaí suspected Nugent had been carrying in a bag.

On that occasion, in February, a man gardaí believe was Nugent was driving a vehicle when a Garda patrol began following him. The suspect then abandoned his car and attempted to make off on foot. He was pursued by three gardaí and apprehended by a young female garda. She was less than a week out of the Garda College, Templemore, and in the first days of her active service.

Nugent was arrested at the scene.

A search of the area – at Collinstown Park, Clondalkin – yielded a handgun and a loaded magazine and Nugent was taken to Lucan Garda station for questioning.

He was on bail when he was shot dead.

At a briefing on Tuesday about Nugent’s murder, gardaí said they believed the attackers waited near his house from at least 9pm before kicking the front door down at 9.40pm.

Gardaí said there was a confrontation which spilled out into the street in front of the house before Nugent was shot five times.

Paramedics were called to the scene but the victim died there from his injuries.

Supt Dermot Mann of Lucan Garda station appealed for witnesses to come forward.

“We’re not sure if those people were on foot or in a car between 9pm and 9.40pm,” he said of the attackers. “But we do know immediately after the shooting a car sped off from the area heading from Wheatfield Avenue, out onto Collinstown Road. From there on we are unsure where that car went.”

Saloon-type vehicle

Gardaí added the car was an older, large saloon-type vehicle, possibly a BMW or similar.

Gardaí said they had “no immediate concerns” about retaliatory attacks.

“We will have extra patrols and I assure the community of the additional resources that we will put in the area, to ensure the safety of the community,” Supt Mann said.

A man who lives on Wheatfield Crescent said his young son had been playing on the road outside before the shooting took place on Monday night.

“He was playing right on the road where it happened. I only took him in 20 minutes before the shooting. There are loads of young kids in this area,” he said.

A young mother living in the estate, who also asked to not be named, said she was in her sittingroom when she heard the gunshots.

“I knew it wasn’t a firework or anything like that as soon as I heard it. My daughter ran down from her room screaming,” she said.

Parents bringing their children to the nearby St Mary’s National School on Tuesday morning expressed shock that a shooting could happen in what they said was a small and quiet estate.

Clondalkin Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Graham said the overwhelming view of residents “has been of disbelief that something as heinous as this can happen right in front of their doors”.

“This estate would have a lot of young families living here, I can imagine how difficult it would be for the families having to explain to young children on the way to school this morning that such a thing has happened right on their doorstep,” he said.