"Hitman" gets life for London shooting


A CONTRACT killer who shot his victim in the street during a long and bloody underworld feud was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in London yesterday.

Michael Boyle (49), of Inchicore, Dublin, was found guilty of attempting to murder Tony Brindle, a member of what the court heard was "a south London family well known to the police".

The Recorder of London, Sir Lawrence Verney QC, ordered that he should serve a minimum of 15 years.

He said: "In this case there is a background of a feud which has lasted over many years and has cost eight lives, and it is something of a miracle that there was not a ninth life lost as a result of your conduct."

The defendant had denied attempting to murder Mr Brindle in September 1995 and two charges of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Boyle's co defendant, David Roads (51), of Croydon, south London, was cleared of attempted murder and possessing firearms with intent to endanger life but was convicted of possessing an explosive substance, possessing firearms without a certificate, handling stolen goods and having a false instrument with intent. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. The court heard that police marksmen, disguised as gas men, shot down Boyle as he attempted to carry out the contract killing Boyle fired three bullets into Mr Brindle and was "intent on finishing him off" when two officers opened fire, said Mr Nigel Sweeney, prosecuting. "Fearing for Mr Brindle's life - and their own - they fired 14 shots at Boyle with their rifles." Five of their shots hit their target. Both men were taken to separate hospitals and survived.

He said Boyle travelled from Dublin to London at least six times in furtherance of the plan. He used safe houses and reconnoitred Mr Brindle's home before setting an ambush for him. Disguised in a wig and using a stolen van, he drove to the square where his victim lived and parked 10 yards from Mr Brindle's car.

Boyle had a Browning semiautomatic pistol and a Magnum, said Mr Sweeney. But police had learned of the plan and had the two men under surveillance.

When Mr Brindle emerged from his home and walked to his car, Boyle opened fire from inside the van using the Browning pistol. Mr Brindle was hit in the elbow, chest and thighs, but managed to run back to his house.

Boyle allegedly got out of the van to chase him. The officers challenged him but he did not stop. He was hit by their fire in the elbow, chest, shoulder blades and left heel."

A subsequent search of Roads's premises revealed a number of guns, eight sticks of explosive and a large quantity of ammunition.

The jury heard that in February 1995 Boyle was arrested in Dublin and became a police informer.

Mr Sweeney said: "He gave information to the police about a well known Dublin criminal, George Mitchell, and his associates. He said one of Mitchell's good friends was Peter Daly, who used to finance Mitchell's operations.

"Boyle said Daly was having problems and there was trouble between him and a family called the Brindles. "Boyle told them that George Mitchell had asked him and two others to target members of the Brindle family, said Mr Sweeney.

"Boyle said he was going to England and he and two others shad a target and three hits would possibly be done on the same night."