By David Raleigh
A notorious Limerick killer, who was this morning found "unresponsive" in his cell at Mountjoy Prison, following a suspected drugs overdose, had 73 bags of heroin in his cell at Limerick Prison nine years ago.
Gary Campion (aged 32), from Moyross was serving two life sentences, for the 2002 murder of innocent night club security doorman Brian Fitzgerald, and the 2006 gangland murder of "Fat Frankie" Ryan.
Campion was rushed by ambulance to the Mater Hospital from his cell at Mountjoy this morning.
A Garda probe, and a prison investigation, will be launched into the circumstances that led to Campion falling ill.
According to a source in the prison service, Campion was under "special observation" at the time lost consciousness this morning.
"We believe he received a package earlier in the week, possibly Tuesday, on a visit. It was either hidden about his person or he ingested it internally," the source said.
"He could have used (the drugs) or a bag may have burst inside him. We won't know the exact details until a report is prepared."
The source revealed that Campion, who has over 40 previous convictions, was been held in a "close supervision cell" this morning.
Campion, who was the first person in Ireland to be convicted of two gangland murders in the State, is in a critical condition in hospital.
"He had a pulse leaving the cell, but it doesn't look good," the source said.
According to a Garda source Campion "overdosed in his cell".
"He's on his last legs...His family have been notified", they added.
Until his incarceration for murder, Campion was a hired hitman for feuding criminal gangs in Limerick.
He was found guilty of murdering nightclub doorman Brian Fitzgerald on November 15, 2007, and he received another life sentence on May 28, 2009, for the murder of Frank Ryan.
He began an appeal against both convictions last year.
Brian Fitzgerald, (aged 34), was shot dead outside his home at Brookhaven Walk, Corbally, on November 29, 2002, after finishing his shift at Docs night club.
Mr Fitzgerald, who was head of security at the venue, was gunned down on the orders of the Dundon mob after refusing to allow the gang sell drugs in the club.
Campion was convicted largely on the evidence of another hitman, James Martin Cahill, who shot Mr Fitzgerald.
Cahill admitted pulling the trigger and testified that Campion drove him to and from the murder scene on a motorbike.
Cahill is also serving a life sentence for the killing.
Campion murdered his former associate Frank Ryan while they both sat in a car in Moyross on September 16, 2006.
Campion, who Gardaí regard as a psychopath, shot his former friend in the head as he sat directly behind him in the vehicle.
Campion, a father of two, previously threatened to kill a prison officer telling him he had shot people in Limerick for €10,000 and would have "no problem" paying twice that sum to have the officer shot dead.
"It wouldn’t be my first time," he told the officer.
Campion's brother, William is currently serving life in prison for the murder of bachelor Patrick Skehan, from Bridgetown, Co Clare.
The 68-year-old farmer died in hospital after he was found beaten and unconscious, with his hands and legs bound with cable wire, and hanging upside down from the banisters.
Gary Campion's older brother Noel, (aged 34), was shot dead in April 2007 during the height of the Limerick gang feud.
In 2009 Gary Campion was given a four-year sentence at Limerick Circuit Court after he was convicted of having 73 ready-for-sale bags of heroin in his cell at Limerick Prison.
The drugs, valued at €2,300, were discovered in his cell on March 1, 2007.