In this episode, how the reign of one Glasgow criminal came to a brutal end in broad daylight.



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 in 2010 was one of the most shocking in Glasgow’s criminal history. It took place at lunchtime outside a supermarket while parents shopped with their young children.

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 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 on 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 into the aforementioned manual.

The stolen Golf carrying the two killers was driven to Coatbridge in Lanarkshire where their weapons were dumped behind a local library and were later found by a gardener.

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 Steven Glen who he had 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.

Carroll had made powerful enemies as a brutal enforcer, firstly as a lieutenant for a notorious crime family, before branching out on his own.

At 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, and 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.

The attacks were dubbed “alien abductions” because the victims told the police they had 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, Carroll had been the target of previous murder bids.

In January 2003, when he was 22, he was chased along the street outside his mum's home in Mingulay Street, Milton, Glasgow, and shot twice in the leg with a sawn-off shotgun as he walked his Staffordshire bull terrier.

He wouldn't tell the police who did it.

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

Gerbil's murder was the culmination of a decade-long war between two rival crime families.

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

In the first Ross Monaghan, then 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”.

Following the end of Monaghan’s trial, it also emerged that a Constable Derek McLeod had leaked secret police surveillance data detailing the movements of 29-year-old Gerbil to his rivals.

McLeod, 43, a Lothian and Borders Police officer, was subsequently jailed for three years and seven months at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Three years after Monaghan walked free; a second man, William “Buff” Paterson, then 35, stood trial on the same charge.

This time a jury found him guilty.

Paterson, from Cumbernauld, in Lanarkshire, was sentenced to life imprisonment and told he must serve 22 years before he can be considered for parole.

Judge Lord Armstrong added: “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.”

Welcoming the verdict, Detective Chief Superintendent Robbie Allan, of Police Scotland's major crime unit, praised the public's help in solving what had been a lengthy and complex investigation.

He added: "This was a targeted and carefully orchestrated attack on an individual carried out by a criminal who had no regard for the safety of anyone else in that supermarket car park.

'Members of the public were left utterly terrified by Paterson's actions."

Paterson had left Scotland for Spain 10 days after Gerbil's murder.

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

During both trials, the juries heard evidence from ordinary members of the public who found themselves caught up in the shooting.

Emma Busby was leaving the 24-hour store when she saw a car screech to a halt. She immediately feared for her life.

Emma, then 35, said: "I saw two guys jumping out of the car and I saw a gun so that's when I started to back up with my trolley.

"I heard the shots and that's when I turned and went back into the shop. I remember someone jumping out of the passenger side, I just remember seeing a gun."

Asked to describe the weapon, Emma said: "Just silver, I remember thinking it was like a Clint Eastwood western-style gun with a rolling barrel.

She told the jury she feared what would happen next.

Emma said: "I thought he was going to turn it on everyone."

She thought eight to 10 shots were fired and admitted the whole experience left her "traumatised".

Emma said: "I thought it was just someone shooting at everyone.

"I thought it was like another Dunblane massacre. I kept hearing the sound of a baby crying."

Asda manager Steven McKenna, then 49, witnessed the murder from his office window, an hour after he came on duty.

He said: "The parked car had two males moving away at pace, they were running. Two males from the other car were firing."

He activated the store's panic alarm but it was too late.

Steven said: "The passenger window of the car was almost obliterated. There was an adult male lying on the back seat. There was nothing I could do for him."

Anne McIntosh was putting shopping in her car, 10 spaces away from the Audi when she heard the Golf brake sharply.

Anne, then 46, said: "I happened to look up and as the car stopped, masked gunmen came out with their pistols held in front of them, walked towards a car and I just couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"I just started wondering what on earth is going on.

"Not long after the people got out of the car there was what I assume was gunfire."

She crouched down next to her car until the shooting stopped.

Anne said she saw one person with a gun but was aware of a second and felt as if the gunshots went on for a long time.

When it stopped, she became aware of the Golf driving in her direction.

Anne added: "I wondered if they were coming for me.

"I saw one of the gunmen get in the car a few metres from me.

"He looked as if he was about to take his mask off, he had a thumb under the bottom of the mask.

"I didn't want to be seen and I didn't want to see him, so I moved."

Supermarket worker Alexander McBride said the shooting looked like a planned operation.

And he described the gunmen as "gallus and confident".

Alexander, then 54, said: "It happened so quickly.

"I was just dumbfounded standing looking at it as if it wasn't happening. It was surreal.

"A few women were screaming but I was just standing there.

"It looked as if it was totally planned. They had no interest in harming anyone else."

Another witness John Aitchison said there were women and children around when he heard what he thought were party poppers going off.

He said: "I thought there was a film crew, and they were filming, but I realised something serious had happened when security guards from Asda told people to keep away from the car.

"The irony is my wife and I usually go to Tesco, but I was told Asda had a wee drinks offer on.

"I wish I hadn't gone there."

The trial heard how Steven Glen was so scared of Carroll that he asked a friend to observe the Asda meeting from inside the shop.

Meanwhile, a member of the gang that had ordered his murder is also said to have also witnessed the fatal shooting.

One certain thing was that both rival crime factions knew about the Asda murder before the police arrived.

The role of Gerbil's two associates, who escaped from the Audi before the hit squad opened fire, was also questioned.

John Bonner and Stephen McLaggan, who both gave evidence, denied being in on the execution.

Bonner, who was Carroll's driver, scrambled out of the car as soon as he saw the Golf pull up in front of them.

The 28-year-old managed to run away and hid behind a car until he heard the Golf speeding away.

He also admitted locking the Audi as he fled but claimed he pushed the button accidentally when he fell to the ground.

McLaggan, also 28, said he had been a friend of Gerbil for 10 years. On the morning of the shooting, the thug phoned him to arrange a lift and he collected him from his Lennoxtown home.

McLaggan told the jury he did not know they were going to Asda until Carroll got in the back seat.

Bonner was about to drive off when the Golf slammed to a halt in front of them.

McLaggan saw one person get out as he ran off and, although he heard shots, he didn't look back.

After the hitmen sped off, McLaggan returned to the Audi.

He said: "Kevin was lying in the back. I could see he was dead."

When asked if it was not "miraculous" that he and Bonner had escaped while Gerbil was trapped, McLaggan replied: "No. I've told you everything I know."

In an interview after the Monaghan trial, Elizabeth Carroll, then 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.

“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.

A few weeks after the trial ended, Gerbil’s £220,000 villa in Lennoxtown was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover cash and assets through his involvement in organised crime.

The move was one of only a handful of cases where prosecutors have targeted the assets of a criminal following his or her death.

Gerbil's death 12 years ago continues to reverberate around the justice system and the criminal underworld.

At one High Court trial in Edinburgh in early 2022, it was alleged that he had murdered a James Campbell four years before his own death.

Morton Eadie, 56, Darren Eadie, 30, Ross Fisher, also 30, and John Kennedy, 41, had been charged with murdering Kenny Reilly by shooting him dead in his car in Maryhill Road in 2018.

Kennedy was also charged with murdering Campbell in Drumchapel in March 2006 at gunpoint.

His lawyers had lodged a special defence stating that it was in fact Carroll who murdered Campbell.

One trial witness Alexander Sutherland, who was serving a 14-and-a-half-year prison sentence for drug dealing, claimed Carroll admitted the murder as they were driving through Drumchapel one day.

Police also accepted that Gerbil had been a person of interest in the original investigation as he lived in Drumchapel at the time.

All four men were later found guilty of Reilly's murder and given life sentences.

However, Kennedy was cleared of the Drumchapel shooting.

William Paterson is the only person to be convicted of Gerbil's murder, despite eyewitnesses describing two gunmen.

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

Police Scotland has said in the past that any new information about the murder of Kevin Carroll - and the identities of other participants - will be thoroughly investigated.

However, those who were close to Carroll, believe his death was inevitable, regardless of who was responsible.

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."