The family of a father-of-one shot dead in a suspected gangland murder in north Dublin on Monday denied tonight he was killed over a drug debt.
James Purdue, 22, was gunned down as he returned to the apartment where his girlfriend and three-year-old daughter lived at the Grattan Wood complex in Donaghmede.
Superintendent Noel McLoughlin, who is heading up the murder investigation, said Purdue had connectionsto the drugs trade.
But his mother Denise and stepfather Bill Malone both insisted he was neither a dealer nor a user.
“James worked from the time he was 11 years of age and always had money, he never owed anyone a penny,” his mother said.
“James always had money. He wouldn’t owe anyone money, James wouldn’t owe anyone a penny.”
Denise told RTE Radio she had no idea why her son was killed.
“I don’t know, I just don’t know,” she said. “It could have been anything but I definitely don’t think it was over drugs … or owing drug money.”
The couple pleaded with anyone who may have information on the young man’s murder to go to the police.
“I can’t relate to why it happened, absolutely, I just can’t,” Mr Malone said.
He criticised some of the reports suggesting a link to a drugs turf war as pure conjecture.
“James was a friend of mine as well as a stepson, probably more of a friend and he was a really happy-go-lucky kid, well liked everywhere, and respected in all the community,” Mr Malone said.
The couple also criticised the judiciary for not imposing strict enough sentences on those convicted of gun crime.
Mr Purdue, of Belcamp Camp Avenue, Priorswood, died after being rushed to Beaumont Hospital – the sixth murder victim in the Coolock area and the country’s 26th violent death this year.
Gardaí said he was known to them and had associates involved in drug dealing in the north of the city.
Purdue was friends with Patrick Lawlor who disappeared after leaving his home in Darndale in December 2004 but gardai have yet to make any link between the killing and the missing man.
Meanwhile, gardai have found the getaway car used in the killing. Forensic experts have been examining the blue Mitsubishi Lancer after it was found partially burned out in Baldoyle.
And as part of the murder investigation armed gardai were manning checkpoints, targeting known criminals and their associates and searching homes.
There have been five other killings in the Coolock area in the past four months and a total of 11 gangland-style killings in the country this year.