THE MERSEYSIDE fugitive suspected of murdering a defenceless Irish dad in Spain could be extradited from Britain in the coming weeks.
Darren O’Flaherty was jailed last week for his role in hi-jacking a lorry.
He could now appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court within days as British authorities prepare to hand him over to face murder charges in Spain.
The 40-year-old, formerly of Lapford Crescent, Kirkby, is wanted in connection with the killing of John O’Neill in 2010.
Mr O'Neill was shot dead in a bar in the Costa del Sol while on holiday with his partner and their two young children.
The a 40-year-old Dublin plasterer had stepped in to diffuse an argument between two strangers.
Witnesses said the row started when a man grew angry about having to wait to use the toilet and began kicking down the cubicle door.
The angry man was then said to have verbally abused a group of Irish holiday-makers before being ejected from the premises.
He returned later with a revolver and fired three times, hitting Mr O’Neill in his back and stomach as his girlfriend Maxine looked on in horror.
O’Flaherty was arrested at gunpoint last August after three years on the run as he celebrated his birthday with friends in a Chinese restaurant in North Wales.
On Friday, January 17, he was jailed for 30 months at Leeds Crown Court after admitting his role in the violent hi-jacking of a truck in 2006.
The driver was held at knifepoint while £400,000 of electronics was stolen from the vehicle before it was set on fire.
O’Flaherty was convicted of conspiracy to steal.
Following the killing of Mr O’Neill, Spanish police were quick to name O’Flaherty in connection with the killing. It is believed he was living in the country under a fake Irish passport at the time.
But he managed to stay under the surface despite numerous appeals until armed officers crashed his birthday party at Fu’s Restaurant in Caernarfon.
Dave Allen, head of the Fugitives Unit at Serious Organised Crime Agency, said at the time: “Darren O'Flaherty was out celebrating with his friends but law enforcement had planned a birthday surprise.”
Merseyside Police confirmed that O’Flaherty is wanted in connection with the Serious Organised Crime Association’s Operation Captura campaign to catch fugitives wanted in Spain.
“Spanish authorities want to speak to him about the shooting of a man in Torremolinos in July, 2010, and two attempted murder charges,” a spokesperson added.