Gardai probe whether gunman killed himself accidentally while 'plotting Hutch/Kinahan gangland hit'
Gardai are investigating if a criminal shot himself in the head by mistake while sitting in a stolen car en route to a potential gangland hit.
Glen Clarke, a father-of-two, was discovered unconscious with a single gunshot wound to his head in the vehicle - which had been fitted with false plates - in the Riverdale Estate in Leixlip, Co Kildare on December 2.
The 26-year-old was found at 1.30am and brought by ambulance to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown where he subsequently died from his injury.
Gardaí in Co Kildare initially believed that he had died by suicide after discovering a handgun in the footwell of the silver Vauxhall Zafira.
However, a senior source has told the Irish Independent that detectives now believe he shot himself by mistake.
The Sunday Times today reports that Clarke had purchased a can of petrol shortly before his death and one theory being investigated is that he was on his way to carry out an assassination on behalf of the Kinahan crime cartel.
The gun has undergone ballistics test to establish if it was used in any previous crimes. The car had been stolen in Blanchardstown in October.
Clarke, from Cabra in Dublin, was known to gardaí but was not considered a major criminal.
A senior source said: "This case was always regarded as an unusual one. He was discovered in a stolen car in a private estate.
"It is highly likely that he was going somewhere. If he was there before carrying out a hit then gardaí are very anxious to establish who was at risk.
"At the moment gardaí have not identified who the target was and this is something they are very keen to do."
The source added that the death was "most likely" an accident.
Detectives have been unable to identify any potential targets in that specific estate and believe it is far more likely that a potential victim was in Lucan or another nearby area.
On December 22, Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan was shot dead outside his home in St Ronan's Drive Clondalkin.
It is believed that Kirwan was shot dead because of his close friendship with Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch.
He was the 11th victim of the Hutch/Kinahan feud.
A Garda spokesman confirmed that they are investigating all aspects of the sudden death.
Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information about Clarke's death to contact them in Leixlip on 01-6667800.