Notorious gang figure found guilty of murder

 

A NOTORIOUS former Limerick gangland member has been found guilty of the murder of one of his associates.

Gary Campion (26) was a passenger in a car when he shot Frankie Ryan (21) twice through the back of the head in Delmege Park, Moyross, on the evening of September 17th, 2006.

Campion, Pineview Gardens, Moyross, had only been released from jail on the previous Friday after serving a two-year sentence for threatening to kill a prison officer.

Campion and Ryan were members of the McCarthy-Dundon gangs and they had fallen out allegedly over a remark that Mr Ryan made to a member of Campion’s family.

Campion’s brother Noel, a major drug dealer, was shot dead in April 2007, and another brother, Willie, is serving life for the torture and murder of Paud Skehan in 1998.

On the day he died, Ryan had been driving or “spinning” around the Moyross estate in his red Toyota Carina when he gave a lift to Campion.

Campion shot him once through the back of the head and then outside the driver’s door in what Aileen Donnelly SC, prosecuting, called a “cold, calculated and deliberate gunning down” and an “execution-style killing”.

Campion, a father of two, was a known gangland figure in Limerick and had a list of 70 previous convictions dating back to 1998.

He is already serving a life sentence for the murder of Limerick bouncer Brian Fitzgerald, who was shot dead in November 2002. Campion drove the getaway motorbike for gunman James Cahill and was convicted in November 2007.

Yesterday the jury took just over eight hours to deliver a majority murder verdict of 10-2. Earlier the jury was told by Mr Justice Paul Carney he would accept a majority verdict.

Campion spat on the floor and muttered “corrupt bastards”.

The case was one of the first where specific gangland legislation was used to secure a conviction.

The Criminal Justice Act, 2006, allows the admission of videotaped evidence even if that evidence is inconsistent with a previous statement.

The sole key witness was Erol Ibrahim (20), who was the front-seat passenger in Mr Ryan’s car when Campion shot him dead.

He initially denied knowing the identity of the person in the back of the car. He changed his evidence after a meeting with Mr Ryan’s brother, Peter, who told him he would not be regarded locally as a “rat” if he told gardaí who pulled the trigger.

In subsequent interviews Mr Ibrahim named Campion as the person who had killed Mr Ryan.

However, in his second day of giving evidence in court, Mr Ibrahim said he had never seen the person who had killed Mr Ryan before in his life and could not identify him. He said previous evidence to gardaí had been a “load of lies” . The killer would have shot him too had he known who he was, Mr Ibrahim said.

The defence maintained that Mr Ibrahim was an unreliable witness who could not be trusted.

The State made an application to have the videotape evidence of statements made by Ibrahim viewed by the jury. Mr Justice Carney ruled that it should be shown in its entirety to the jury.

He remanded Campion in custody for sentencing on July 8th.