IT was September 16, 2000, and Tony McGovern was sitting outside the New Morven Bar in Balornock at the wheel of his expensive black Audi car.

The 35-year-old organised crime figure was well known in the pub, and it was a place where he felt safe.

At that time, he had bitter enemies and knew his life was in danger.

In recent times a series of tit-for-tat incidents took place including several potentially fatal shootings.

In late June, a mystery man had tried to shoot him as he showered in his bungalow home in Bishopbriggs.

Tony however survived with relatively minor injuries after three shots were fired.

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Around the same time a bar and nightclub which the McGoverns had links to in Greenock was set on fire.

Tony and other family members often drank there and clearly a message was being sent out.

That was why he was wearing a Kevlar bulletproof vest under his shirt and jacket, said to have been gifted to him by a major Glasgow underworld figure. He had not left home without it for weeks.

However, the vest was to provide him with no protection from what was about to happen next.

Tony had just left the bar about 10.20pm and got into his £30,000 car in Littelhill Street at the junction of Edgefauld Road.

Out of the late evening gloom, one or maybe two men appeared and opened fire.

Tony was hit with five shots, including at least one in his groin, and slumped at the wheel.

Customers and friends in the pub hearing gunfire ran out to see what had happened.

A white car, possibly carrying the shooter, was seen speeding away while a man on his own was spotted running into the distance.

An ambulance was called but Tony was pronounced dead at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Police officers were quickly on the scene well aware of the reputation of the victim.

It would be important to speak to as many eyewitnesses as possible before they disappeared into the night.

Over the next days a major murder investigation, led by Detective Superintendent Jeanette Joyce, interviewed more than 300 people in a bid to find witnesses to the murder.

However, they quickly met a wall of silence from local people.

They didn’t want to be witnesses or get involved for fear of reprisals.

So much so a police incident caravan outside the New Morven hadn’t received a single visitor after 28 days.

The McGovern family also declined to provide a picture of Tony to the police for them to use in public appeals for information.

Tony was one of six McGovern brothers. There was also a sister.

Collectively they were known as the McGovenment – because of the control that they allegedly exerted over the Springburn area of Glasgow where they operated.

The family were said to have interests in property, taxis, pubs and later a security firm.

Some even nicknamed them the Springburn Sopranos after the fictional American mafia television series.

It would be fair to say they were no strangers to violence.

In 1995, Thomas McGovern then 28, was accused of shooting dead a man outside the Ashfield Bar in Springburn.

However, he walked free from the High Court when a key witness said he was not the man she saw carry out the murder.

Paul McGovern, then 16, was convicted in 1990 of murdering a school janitor in Springburn and sentenced to life.

One man who was happy to speak out at the time was Paul Martin, the local MSP.

He expressed his concerns about the gang-related violence in his Springburn constituency.

He said: “For some time I have called for a top-to-bottom policing review relating to the high crime rates in my constituency.

“Incidents like this go to prove that more on-the-beat officers are needed.

Crime figures seem to be rising all the time and some parts of my constituency are badly affected by the gangs we hear so much about these days.”

Hundreds of mourners attended Tony’s funeral service at St Aloysius Church in Springburn in November 2000.

His remaining five bothers carried the coffin from the church to the strains of Celine Dion’s Immortality.

Eldest brother Joe was seen as the brains of the family.

Tony was the second eldest of the six brothers.

Another brother Jamie lived a few doors away from his parents’ home in Springburn.

He had been shot in the face 13 years earlier while drinking in a local pub, leaving him horribly scarred.

By the time of his murder, Strathclyde Police understood the situation was escalating.

One detective said at the time: “We could do very little about it. These people are determined to kill each other.”

At the time there was speculation that the McGovern murder was perpetrated by hired hitmen from Liverpool – paid £15,000 to carry out the attack.

In late August 2001, detectives appeared to have made a breakthrough when they announced the arrest of a 36-year-old man.

He had been detained as he mingled with holidaymakers on Blackpool promenade and was taken back to Glasgow to be charged with the murder.

The man was held in Barlinnie Prison for a week before being released on bail.

However, the following July it emerged that charges against him were dropped because of a lack of evidence.

Prosecutors had a deadline of August 24, 2002, to bring him to trial, but they had known for some time they did not have a strong enough case.

Witnesses failed to pick out the prime suspect at an identity parade, and he was also believed to have an alibi for the night of Tony’s murder.

One person who knows the McGovern family better than most was former criminal defence lawyer James McIntyre.

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He has been described as the real-life Tom Hagen, the fictional consigliere to the Corleone mafia family in The Godfather movies.

His legal career ended after he was sentenced in 1997 to three years in prison for possession of two firearms and ammunition at his home in Linlithgow, West Lothian.

In May this year, the 66-year-old grandfather published a book on his life titled Jimmy Two Guns: The Life and Crimes of a Gangland Lawyer.

McIntyre, who now writes scripts for TV shows like River City, represented both Thomas and Paul McGovern in their murder cases.

He also admits he was also close friends with Joe McGovern up to his death several years ago.

McIntyre, who attended Tony’s funeral, said: “Tony was always very nice to me and very much a businessman.

“He was a good father and a good friend and didn’t deserve what happened to him that night or to die the way he did.”

To this day no one else has been charged with Tony’s murder and no one has stood trial.

Police Scotland says it is still interested in hearing from anyone with information and urges them to contact them on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously.

Detective Chief Inspector Brian Geddes, Homicide Governance and Review Team, added: “The murder of Anthony McGovern remains unresolved but, as with all such cases, it is subject to review and should any new information be received, it will be thoroughly assessed to determine whether it could assist the inquiry. If so, it will be appropriately acted upon by dedicated officers.”