Ruthless Robbie Lawlor: Timeline of how Keane Mulready-Woods killer met his demise
Lawlor, who had no shortage of enemies, was shot dead in Belfast on Saturday morning.s
Last December Robbie Lawlor walked free from court after being cleared of attempting to murder the mother of his ex-girlfriend’s new partner.
The vicious psychopath had gardai on high alert instantly and it wasn’t long before the first warning was sent.
A video, reported on by Dublin Live in December, later turned out to be one of the most significant clues in deciphering the gang-war that was about to kick off.
Just weeks later, Drogheda teen Keane Mulready-Woods was cut into pieces by Lawlor along with another suspect who’s at the centre of the Louth drugs war.
It was one of the most horrific crimes the state has ever seen, and it all started with a prison release, a social media taunt, and a declaration of war.
There’s no doubt Lawlor’s life was under threat by major figures in Drogheda, as well as those associated with Mr Big in Coolock, however Saturday’s shooting in Belfast wasn’t carried out by either directly.
Four men have been arrested in connection with the Ardoyne shooting. And between them all there are connections to gangs in Dublin, Limerick, and Belfast.
From the brutal killing of Keane Mulready-Woods, Lawlor’s past, and the eerie scenes of celebration that marked his death. Here’s how the shocking chain of events unfolded.
A free man
In December Lawlor had been set free after a charge of assaulting his ex-girlfriend was dropped. He was also cleared of attempting to murder her new partner’s mother.
His release instantly put gardai on high alert as they rightly feared he would go to war with Coolock mobster Mr Big.
Big’s gang are believed to have helped one of the Drogheda factions kill Lawlor’s brother-in-law Richie Carberry who was brutally gunned down outside his home in Bettystown in November 2019.
Days after Lawlor gained freedom the first sign of trouble appeared – a video surfaced showing him being confronted by a number of people on a Dublin street.
Click to play Notorious criminal told ‘it’s only the start’ as he’s confronted after release
Robbie was told ‘this is only the start of it’ as he’s struck in the face by one of the men.
During the incident the gang allegedly took a pair of flip flops from Lawlor’s gym bag and later taunted him by posting pictures of them wearing them online.
The young man taking the video is also believed to be a close associate of David ‘Fred’ Lynch who is one of a number people Lawlor was suspected of killing.
Lynch was shot four times in the head in Belcamp in March 2009.
Sunday 12th January
Keane Mulready-Woods was seen for the last time. Family and friends were extremely concerned for his welfare as he had previously been warned his life was under threat.
Fears kicked in early that something bad had happened at the hands of two rival gang members.
The teen had links to both sides of the Drogheda divide as well as a Mr Big in North Dublin.
Monday 13th January
An innocent taxi driver escapes with non life-threatening injuries after being shot on the Bridge of Peace.
The driver’s passenger, a man who is linked to Drogheda feud, managed to escape the scene.
- Thug shot in Belfast was north Dublin gangster Robbie Lawlor suspected of killing Louth teen Keane Mulready-Woods
Gardai suspected that the man who got away is one of two men involved in Keane’s disappearance and that the shooting was a retaliation attack.
At this stage Keane’s whereabouts was still unknown, but something major was about to happen.
Coolock – less than four hours later
Gardai get a call after some local teens discover a bag in the Moatview area of Coolock.
To everyone’s disbelief the bag contained a person’s arm and legs, and the scene was immediately sealed off.
A huge search got underway to try and find the rest of the body while investigators immediately look at the possibility the parts belonged to Keane.
One clue gardai noticed was a pair of flip flops also being contained in the bag. Detectives believed this was a reference to the incident with Lawlor in December.
Wednesday 15th January
Emergency services rush to a car fire at Trinity Terrace, off Clonliffe Avenue, in Drumcondra.
The blaze is put out quickly by firefighters who then make a horrific discovery inside.
A severed head is found in the boot. At this stage Keane hasn’t been officially identified, but the DNA results from Monday’s find are set to confirm his family’s fear later in the evening.
Drogheda – Wednesday evening
Gardai seal off a house in Rathmullen Estate. It’s believed this was the scene of the brutal butchering.
Drogheda Garda Station – Wednesday night
Gardai call a press conference and it’s here the horrible truth is confirmed.
Keane Mulready-Woods is officially named as the victim and officers describe the killing as “a brutal and savage attack on a child and is completely unacceptable in any normal democratic society”.
Three incident rooms are set up in Drogheda, Coolock, and Mountjoy while gardai appeal for anyone with information on Keane’s last movements.
They said: “It is important to remember that Keane was a child, a young boy, trying to find his way in life, he has now lost his life and his family have lost their loved son and brother.”
Click to play
Thursday 16th January
As people come to grips with one of Ireland’s most brutal crimes, things get even more disturbing as unverified images begin to circulate online.
Gardai appeal to people not to share them.
Two main suspects were outlined very early on in the investigation.
We can now say one of them was ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawlor while the other is one of the main players in the Drogheda feud.
That man is the same one who escaped the hit attempt in the taxi the day after Keane went missing. He was later arrested over a separate incident and is now behind bars in relation to that.
A major arrest is made by gardai in Drogheda and a charge later follows.
The 50-year-old faced a single charge of impeding the apprehension or prosecution of another person in connection with Keane’s death.
Meanwhile two brothers who are suspected of being involved in the plan to kill the teen flee to Spain where it’s believed they remain today.
Things go quiet in the public eye, but gardai continue to work on other aspects of the case quietly.
The search for Keane’s torso also continues although it still hasn’t been found to this day.
Threat to Robbie’s life
In the meantime Robbie Lawlor is issued with a GIM (Garda Informational Message) warning him his life is in danger.
It was last Saturday that the threat materialised.
Saturday April 4th
Lawlor, along with three other men, traveled to Ardoyne in Belfast to collect a drug debt. It’s there he met his gruesome end.
After pulling up a gunman sprayed him with bullets and instantly fled along with the three men who accompanied the Dubliner.
A neighbour ran over to try and help him but it was a lost cause. He died at at the scene.
Four suspects were later arrested and questioned by the PSNI. It’s understood one of them is a close family member of a major Limerick gangster while another is related to a murdered dissident republican.
News filters through to Lawlor’s enemies
There were scenes around Dublin and Drogheda after word came through that Ruthless was no more.
Several videos appear online: One showed Keane Mulready-Wood’s pals celebrating while another surfaced showing a major Drogheda gang figure toasting Robbie’s name.
Another showed a woman closely associated with David Lynch singing and dancing in her kitchen along with a number of others.
A family member of Keane also posted on social media saying “everyone has been routing for this day”.
Who is responsible?
The dad-of-three had 124 convictions and was suspected of at least four major killings over the past 15 years.
His victims spanned across separate groups meaning there were plenty of factions thirsting for blood.
The 36-year-old was suspected of killing Mr Big’s right hand man Kenneth Finn outside Moatview Gardens in 2018.
He was also suspected of killing Tallaght man Mark Byrne in 2005, David Fred Lynch in 2009, and Noel Deans in 2010.
Gardai and the PSNI are probing whether he was double-crossed by his Limerick associates or whether figures involved in Drogheda or Mr Big, who had a bounty on his head, orchestrated the set-up with the gunman who waited for him.