Red van vital clue in hunt for killer

GARDAÍ have issued a fresh appeal for information about the movements of a red van which was used by the gunman who killed a Cork drugs dealer on Wednesday, January 20.

The 92-C registered Toyota Liteace was purchased from a man in Carrigaline the same day. It was driven to West Lawn estate in Wilton by the gunman who shot dead Gerard “Topper” Staunton, aged 41, in front of his partner and her two young children at around 7.50pm.

The van was then driven to Waterfall when it was burnt out.

Gardaí say they are particularly interested to hear from anybody who may have seen the van, which was fitted with bull bars, after it left Carrigaline.

Superintendent Charlie Barry said the van left Carrigaline at 3.50pm.

“We think it may have taken back roads through Belgooly or Ballygarvan and we want to hear from anybody who saw it and saw who was driving it,” Supt Barry said.

Detectives believe the van was probably in West Lawn a short time before the gunman struck.

“The movement of the van is very important to our investigation,” Supt Barry said.

Gardaí know the van left the estate and headed down Spur Hill, past Chetwynd cemetery and across the main Cork-Bandon road on to Waterfall.

The van was burnt out shortly after 8pm at O’Leary’s Lane, near the old cemetery at Castlewhite, Waterfall.

The Real IRA has claimed responsibility for the killing, but while gardaí are examining this claim, they are also looking at other possibilities.

They have already spent thousands of man-hours on the investigation and have interviewed a number of people.

However, no arrests have been made.

Supt Barry said the murder of Gerard Staunton was callous and well-planned.

Mr Staunton, originally from Kilkieran Close, Hollyhill, had moved to Wilton less than a year ago and rented the two-storey house at West Lawn. He was well known to gardaí and had a number of previous convictions, including drug -dealing.


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