The suspect is a 27-year-old man from Ballyfermot, west Dublin, who fled Ireland in recent years for the Spanish coast. Last night he was being held in custody having been arrested in possession of a false passport.
British national Daniel Smith, aged 24, died in a hail of bullets as he sipped a drink on a terrace on the Costa del Sol. The gunman opened fire from a high-powered motorbike in a drive-by murder on Saturday night.
Fellow drinkers dived for cover as Smith was blasted to death outside The Lounge bar in Riviera del Sol, near Mijas. The Briton, who was himself a fugitive wanted for an attempted murder in Britain, died at the scene after being shot at least three times in the head. Local reports said Smith and the Irish man had rowed in the bar earlier in the evening.
Garda sources said the Spanish police had identified the Ballyfermot man as their main suspect.
“He’s well known here and abroad as a bit of a hard man, involved in shootings. He’s a serious individual,” said one garda. He is known to have been mixing with other serious Irish criminals on the Costa del Sol.
Locals told police Smith had rowed with an Irishman who was living in the area. They got into a stand-up argument after the British man accused the other man of hassling girls in the bar. The victim was warned: “You wait there, I will be back in a minute.”
Shortly afterwards the killer pulled up outside the bar where Smith was still drinking and shot him in the face. Smith collapsed in a pile of blood, and the driver fired off five more shots.
A regular at the bar, who asked not to be named, said: “It started with a row in the bar because the Irish bloke was annoying some of the other drinkers, especially the women.
“Dan stood up and said to him: ‘Why don’t you just get out of here; nobody wants you here’. Then a few minutes later all hell broke lose. A man pulled up on a motorbike and shot him in the face.”