Murder victim was sex abuse suspect

A MAN shot dead in the centre of Dublin early on Tuesday was the subject of a Garda investigation into indecent assaults on an unknown number of young girls last year.

The Irish Director of Public Prosecutions, Eamonn Barnes, yesterday confirmed he had sent a direction on allegations against Sean Clarke, 44, for typing only last week.

He denied reports suggesting the case had been with his office since last year and was still awaiting a decision. Gardai began investigating the sex abuse claims from the North Dublin area last September, and the file was passed to the DPP on 18 May.

Criminal sources indicated that the abduction and killing in April of a man living opposite Mr Clarke on Dublin's North Circular Road may have been the victim of mistaken identity, with Mr Clarke the intended target.

Until now, it had been believed that the earlier victim, Michael Godfrey, was killed because he owed money to a drugs gang.

Mr Clarke was shot in both legs, an arm and the stomach by his attacker with a sawn-off shotgun outside The Big Bite Sandwich Company in North King Street in the inner city when he arrived for work as usual at around 3.30am on Tuesday. He delivered sandwiches for sale at petrol stations around the Dublin area.

Witnesses in nearby flats said the gunman, in his thirties and dressed in a suit, returned a few moments after the initial attack. As Mr Clarke shouted 'I didn't do it, I didn't, no, please, no, oh no' and attempted to crawl under his van, he was shot in the back of the head. The gunman picked up the cartridge cases before being driven away in a waiting car.

Gardai are considering the possibility that the gunman fired the last, fatal shot because Mr Clarke may have recognised him.

Mr Clarke had convictions for receiving stolen goods.