By Imogen Calderwood
NOTORIOUS Irish gangster Gerard ‘the Hatchet’ Kavanagh has been gunned down in the Elviria shopping centre, on the outskirts of Marbella.
Two armed men burst into Harmon’s Irish Bar around 5.30pm yesterday, shooting Kavanagh, 44, up to nine times in the back and arms and killing him on the spot.
The busy square – which has four bars and four restaurants – was full of locals and tourists alike as the dining complex was just finishing lunch service.
Witnesses described the scene as an ‘execution’, with the victim being shot down by the gunmen – who were dressed ‘head to toe’ in black and wearing balaclavas – as he attempted to escape.
A witness said: “It had all the hallmarks of a professional hit.”
Stray bullets flew across the square – that was filled with more than a hundred punters at the time of the shooting – with one leaving a bullet in the car of a neighbouring restaurateur.
“It caused pandemonium and terror,” said a British expat, 55, who lives in Elviria and was eating at one of the neighbouring restaurants when the shooting took place.
The witness added that just minutes after the shooting a nearby car exploded.
Police discovered a burnt out BMW X3 nearby shortly after the shooting, and are currently combing the car to find out if it was used as a getaway vehicle.
One 58-year-old British resident of nearby Calahonda added: “It’s really a miracle no-one was hurt. There were tourists at all the restaurants in the square, and bullets were flying all over the place.”
Police and forensic teams had screened off Harmon’s Irish bar, which is located in a corner of the square, but several British families were eating dinner in the restaurants surrounding.
The victim’s black Audi 4×4 remained opposite the restaurant, sectioned off from the main square with police tape.
The gangster, from the Crumlin area of Dublin, has been linked to the Christy Kinahan cartel, and has convictions for selling heroin.
Nicknamed ‘the Hatchet’, he was well-known in west Dublin as a violent criminal, responsible for the collection of drug debts.
It is believed the murder is linked to the Estepona shooting of boxing champion Jamie Moore last month, with early reports suggesting Kavanagh was the intended victim of the attack on Jamie Moore.
Dave Harmon, the owner of the Irish bar, is a massive boxing fan and Jamie Kavanagh and Matthew Maklin are both tagged on his Twitter feed.