ONE of the men involved in the infamous ‘M50 shootout’ has been found dead in a Glasgow flat.
Carl Byrne, who had been forced to live away from his native Finglas after surviving a gangland assassination attempt in 2006, is said to have died of a drug overdose.
Byrne, 27, was visiting friends in the Scottish city, although he is understood to have been living in the Canary Islands.
He is the son of Linda Byrne, fiancée of FM104 ‘shock jock’ Adrian Kennedy, who is due to marry Miss Byrne later this year. He declined to comment on the death.
It is understood he did not know Byrne well, as he had fled the country following a series of shoot-outs and death threats around the time Kennedy and Miss Byrne met.
Byrne was known to gardai and had, according to reliable sources, convictions for driving offences, assault and burglary.
He had been in hiding since a car he was in was sprayed by automatic weapons in a shootout.
Questions were even raised in the Dáil about the incident. At the time, there had been a spate of killings linked to a feud between rival Dublin gangs.
Despite wearing bullet-proof body armour, he was hit by three of the bullets in the incident that had followed a high-speed chase along the M50.
It had started when gunmen pulled up alongside the Lexus he was in at 4.15am on the M50 near the Ballymount exit. Four men wearing balaclavas opened fire, using either an automatic pistol or a sub-machine gun, spraying the car as it swerved to avoid the attack.
The gunmen gave chase, firing more shots at the occupants. The chase, which also spilled over on to parts of the N4 Dublin to Sligo road, only ended when the Lexus pulled into a Texaco service station. According to witnesses, two of the four men in the Lexus were wearing bullet-proof body armour.
Byrne was hit by three bullets, and was seen to be bleeding from wounds to his arm and upper body. He was taken to Blanchardstown’s James Connolly Memorial Hospital. Byrne, however, may not even have been the target of the gun attack on the M50.
He was driving the motor but, according to gardaí, the gunmen may have been after his passenger, a 20-year-old man from Clondalkin.
Although he was given armed Garda protection, he is said not to have to co-operated with the force. Two weeks before Byrne was shot on the M50, he was confronted close to his home by a man with a shotgun.
He was shot three times, in the stomach, hand and leg, but survived and fled to a nearby house. Byrne’s bullet-proof vest helped save his life.
An associate said last night: ‘Carl was living in fear for his life. ‘A hit was put out on him and he had to leave the country.
‘Although he used to pop into Belfast to see his girlfriend, he’d only ever stay one night and then get out of the country the next day.’
A spokesman for Strathclyde Police said last night: ‘We can confirm that at 10pm on Tuesday March 16, the body of a 27-year-old male was found within a property at Lancefield Quay, Glasgow.’
Some 50,000 people tune in to Adrian Kennedy’s show nightly, where the topic of conversation often covers gangland violence and drugs.
Despite the tragedy in his family, Mr Kennedy was on air again on Friday night, when attempts to contact him went unanswered.
However, a friend of Kennedy’s said last night that the DJ hardly knew Byrne.
The friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘By then, Carl was a wanted man and shortly after he got out of hospital after he was shot, he left the country.
‘I think he went to Alicante for a while and then somewhere else with a relative who had business interests abroad.’
The friend added: ‘He hardly ever set foot back in the Republic because he was genuinely worried he was going to get killed. ‘I think he used to go to Belfast for the odd night but never stayed very long.’
The respected shock jock, who began his career in local radio in the Eighties, has fronted the FM104 phone-in show for over a decade. On the programme, callers, often from deprived areas of Dublin, discuss crime and other social issues.