IT’S often said that those who live by the sword die by the sword.

Never a truer word was said in the case of ruthless gangland enforcer Kevin “Gerbil” Carroll.

His execution this day 11 years ago was one of the most shocking in Glasgow’s history as it took place at lunchtime outside a busy supermarket while customers shopped with their young children.

Glasgow Times:

Customers of the busy Asda branch in Monument Drive, Robroyston, on the outskirts of the city would have had little idea of the drama about to unfold in front of them as they loaded groceries into their cars.

At 1.23pm on January 13, 2010, two masked gunmen dressed from head to toe in black fired 13 shots through the windscreen of Carroll’s top of the range black Audi A3, hitting him in the head, hands, jaw, chest and groin.

The two killers had blocked the Audi with their stolen Volkswagen Golf and stood either side, blasting away.

In the ensuing pandemonium terrified mums threw themselves on top of their children in a bid to protect them from any stray bullets

Carroll, who was trapped in the Audi’s back seat, could only hold the car manual to his face in a vain effort to deflect the bullets.

The double hit took just 25 seconds and he died instantly with one of the bullets lodging in the aforementioned manual.

The nicked Golf carrying the two killers was driven to Coatbridge where their weapons were dumped behind a library.

Glasgow Times:

The getaway car was burnt out on a country road in nearby Glenmavis and the killers fled.

Ironically, Carroll was at the Asda branch for a meeting with a local drug dealer who he chillingly warned: “You’re working for me now, anybody that doesn’t fall in line is going to get banged.”

The man, who later gave evidence at the High Court trial of one of the murder accused, was left in no doubt during the brief summit that he would be shot and Gerbil was the man to do it.

However, Carroll never lived to carry out his threat as he was murdered a few minutes later.

By the time of his death he was, according to police intelligence files, among the top 15 criminals in Scotland.

On the day of his funeral in Glasgow, he was given a traditional gangland send off which included a horse-drawn hearse with a floral tribute showing a can of Red Bull, the energy drink he favoured.

Carroll reportedly got the Gerbil nickname as a child from the Kevin character on the popular 1980s children’s TV show Roland Rat.

However, there was nothing warm and cuddly about this Kevin.

He was said to be the leader of a gang that kidnapped drug dealers from rival crews, then subjected them to sickening violence, including torture, to obtain cash, drugs and weapons.

In the year before his death he is believed to have made more than £1.5 million from this technique.

Carroll’s targets were often found distraught and half-naked in the street after their interrogation.

Glasgow Times:

The attacks were dubbed “alien abductions” because the victims told the police they’d no memory of what had happened to them.

One dealer reportedly had his fingers broken by Carroll and his crew, who then pulled out a grinder and threatened to cut his nipples off.

The victim was then knocked out before one of Gerbil’s associates urinated on the man to wake him up.

Former Strathclyde Police detective David Moran, who was involved in the original Carroll murder investigation, later took part in a Channel Five Documentary about the Gerbil case, which was broadcast in 2019.

He told the viewers: “Carroll carried out what was by then a well-established routine that he did before carrying out a shooting.

“He’d shave all his body hair off and shave his head as close as he could get it to avoid leaving DNA anywhere.

“At the conclusion of the shooting he would douse his body in diesel to eliminate any firearms residue.”

The viewers were also told that Police Scotland was stunned by the level of violence in his murder.

Mr Moran added: “You think you’ve seen it all in the police but a murder of that nature carried out in broad daylight in such a public area — even I was shocked at that.”

The father-of-three, from Glasgow’s sprawling Milton scheme, had been the target of previous murder bids.

In 2006 he was shot in the stomach in a drive-by shooting in Bishopbriggs. 

The two men charged with Carroll’s murder, stood trial separately at the High Court in Glasgow in 2012 and 2015.

In the first Ross Monaghan, 30, from Penilee, walked free after 19 days when a judge ruled there was no case to answer.

The court heard evidence from police officers saying Carroll was a violent loose cannon and many people wanted him dead.

The late Derek Ogg QC, who was defending Monaghan, even read out a list of 99 people who police thought may have been responsible for the murder – though Monaghan wasn’t one of them.

Mr Moran, then a Detective Sergeant, gave evidence about the list and agreed the gangster was “not short of an enemy or two”.

Three years later a second man, William “Buff” Paterson, then 35, stood trial and was given a life term of 22 years after being found guilty. He had left Scotland for Spain 10 days after the murder and never returned.

However, in June 2014, encouraged perhaps by the Monaghan verdict, he returned to Scotland to face the charges against him.

Paterson’s DNA was found on the handle of a plastic bag that one of the murder weapons was found in. 

A mobile phone used by Paterson on the day of the murder placed him in Asda around the time of the shooting. 

His phone was then traced to Coatbridge, where the guns were dumped.
Paterson, from Cumbernauld, is the only person to be convicted of the murder, despite eye-witnesses describing two gunmen.  

A third person is thought to have been the getaway driver.

Glasgow Times:

Paterson lodged a special defence of incrimination, claiming one of at least six different men could have carried out the murder, including the drug dealer who Gerbil had met minutes before his death.

Before sentencing, Judge Lord Armstrong told Paterson: “This murder appears to have been premeditated, planned, carried out by you and others in the most calculated way.

“It was not a spontaneous event which happened on the spur of the moment, it was in effect an execution.”

A few weeks after the trial ended, Gerbil’s £220,000 villa in Lennoxtown was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

His murder was the biggest drama Robroyston had seen since William Wallace was captured there in 1305 and handed over to the troops of Edward I.

However, Carroll was no Braveheart, but according to his mother the murder was no laughing matter either.

In an interview after the Monaghan trial, Elizabeth Carroll, 49, spoke up in support of her son.

She said: “Some people seem to think what happened to him was a joke, something to laugh about. It’s disgusting. They’re trying to make out the 99 people were people who wanted to kill him but that wasn’t true.

“There was nobody to speak for Kevin. They only wanted people with bad things to say about him.”

During the second murder trial in 2015, Carroll’s partner Kelly “Bo” Green, was allowed to give evidence on his behalf.

She described Carroll as a “loving partner and fantastic father” to their children. 

He had even sent her a text message telling her he loved her shortly before he was murdered.

However, those who knew Carroll the best say his death was inevitable.

One underworld source told the Glasgow Times: “Gerbil may have been a good son and loving family man but he was also someone capable of extreme acts of violence.

“Gerbil made plenty of enemies over the years and at the end of the day he made one enemy too many."