Gardaí hunting the killers of former Real IRA boss Aidan O’Driscoll hope to glean vital forensic evidence from two getaway cars after botched attempts to burn them out.
Detectives involved in the murder investigation were still gathering CCTV and witness statements yesterday in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting in Blackpool, on the northern outskirts of Cork City.
They are also awaiting the outcome of forensics and ballistics tests on one bullet casing recovered from the scene of the shooting on the Old Commons Road, and four bullets recovered from O’Driscoll’s body during Thursday’s autopsy.
However, detectives hope that detailed forensic examinations of the remains of the two vehicles — a Nissan Almera and a Vauxhall estate van — will yield crucial evidence.
Attempts were made to torch both cars but the fires did not destroy the vehicles entirely. Forensic tests will take some time to complete.
It has also been confirmed that neither vehicle had been stolen. Gardaí are now working to trace the two cars.
O’Driscoll, 37, who had been working in the Tivoli area on Wednesday, was attacked just moments after being dropped off in Blackpool, about 2km from his home.
At least two men, who made no attempt to hide their faces, approached him as he walked close to Orchard Court.
He was shot once in the pelvis and tried to flee but collapsed a short distance away, before the gunmen stood over him and fired three more shots into his chest from close range.
An autopsy confirmed that the 37-year-old father of two, from Ballyvolane, died from wounds caused by four gunshots.
The killers fled the scene on foot, and made off in a silver grey Nissan Almera, which was found partially burned out a short distance away at the junction of Seminary Rd and Redemption Rd. The killers are then believed to have left that area in a white Vauxhall Astra estate van, which was also found partially burned out in Monard, Killeens, about 8km away.
Gardaí said they have reports that a red Opel Astra car was in the Killeens area for a time before the van arrived, and left the area a short time later.
They have appealed for anyone who saw any of these three cars to come forward in a bid to trace the exact getaway route — particularly the route the killers took from the junction of Seminary Rd and Redemption Rd to Killeens.
They also believe the killers either had local knowledge, or were working with someone who knew the area well, given the getaway route through Blackpool’s busy streets, the fact they used the Seminary Rd cul-de-sac to abandon one car, and possibly took back roads via Blackstone Bridge to Killeens, where they abandoned the van.
They are still keeping an open mind about the motive for the shooting. But among the theories being considered is that O’Driscoll was targeted by former Real IRA associates as part of an internal battle to control the drugs trade, racketeering, and money-laundering operations.
There is also speculation that senior figures in the dissident movement ordered the assassination because they were not happy with the “leniency” of a punishment shooting meted out to O’Driscoll in 2013.
Condolences poured in to his fiancee, Marion Ryan, yesterday. The couple got engaged last December and were planning to marry next year. Tributes also poured in to Delaney’s GAA club, where O’Driscoll earned the nickname “The Beast” for his exploits on the pitch. The club has cancelled all sporting activity this weekend as a mark of respect.
Club members are expected to provide a guard of honour at his funeral.
O’Driscoll’s remains are expected to be released to his family on Monday, with the funeral taking place amid tight security.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved