Ten years ago today, crime journalist Veronica Guerin was sitting in her car at a set of traffic lights on the outskirts of Dublin when two men on a motorbike pulled up beside her. The passenger dismounted, drew a gun and fired five bullets into her before his accomplice drove them away. The 37-year-old wife and mother of one died instantly. The incident was intended as a warning not to delve too deeply into the criminal underworld, but news of the murder shocked Ireland and was reported in media around the world as an attack on the establishment by organised crime. Then prime minister, John Bruton, along with the rest of Ireland, was outraged. He called the murder 'an attack on democracy'. The incident brought to light the courageous actions of one woman in her crusade against crime, with her efforts being trumpeted in print and on the screen. The accountability of her employer has been the subject of intense scrutiny since Guerin's murder, with the editorial priorities of the Sunday Independent being brought into question. 'Veronica used to get so angry when stories were killed for being libellous,' said Paddy Prendiville, editor of The Phoenix magazine in Dublin. Guerin was his best friend. 'The editors wouldn't think twice - they would just pull it,' Mr Prendiville said. 'But as soon as she started getting close to these guys and getting big exclusives, the threats began. She was shot in the leg. She was beaten up. They had the power to pull those stories because her life was now endangered. But the papers were selling and so no one stepped in.' While Guerin had an interest in crime reporting, it was not the planned crusade that many would like to believe. Guerin entered journalism rather late in her life, but had spent the years prior to it making a list of contacts. She worked with the Fianna Fail political party, where she got to know Charles Haughey, who served as prime minister three times before his death earlier this month. Her first foray into reporting was for the Sunday Business Post and then the Sunday Tribune. Eventually she moved to the Sunday Independent, where she began to scrape the criminal underbelly of Dublin. When Guerin's younger brother, Jimmy Guerin, spoke to the South China Morning Post, he made it clear how he wanted her to be remembered. 'She was a mother who was cut down,' he said. 'Her priority was her family; her work came second. She didn't sacrifice her life as is often believed - it was taken from her.' Her slaying was brought back into the limelight in 1998 with the publication of Veronica Guerin: The Life and Death of a Crime Reporter, by Emily O'Reilly. The book painted Guerin as, among other things, a bad mother. Some branded it a hatchet job and questioned the motives of the author. Guerin's brother called it 'a horrendous attack on Veronica's character'. O'Reilly did not return a request for comment. Prendiville said that since her death, Guerin's profile had become sensationalised to the point where, if she were alive, 'she would be incredibly embarrassed'. 'In the 10 years since she was killed, Veronica has been lionised to the point of caricature,' he told the Post. In the lead up to her murder, Guerin had shots fired into her house. On another occasion, she answered the door to a masked man who shot her in the thigh. The final attack before her killing was at the hands of crime boss John Gilligan, when she tried to interview him at his house. 'There was something about the physical closeness of that attack in particular that really shook Veronica up, more than when she was shot,' Prendiville said. 'She was stubborn,' her brother said. 'The outside world may not have seen her fear, but she did worry. Nevertheless, she knew she was on to something. She wanted to nail these guys. But if she were alive today, she'd be bitterly disappointed. Crime in the city is so vast now. Instead of waning after her murder, it's multiplied. I really believe if another journalist was murdered tomorrow it wouldn't change a thing. It's really sad.' Guerin's relentless pursuit of the big names behind Dublin's soaring crime meant that she had her thumbprint on many exclusives. It also made her a target. She flirted with danger by entering the criminal underworld armed only with a pen and notepad. Guerin knew how to rein people in and she wasn't afraid to talk to them. Her contact, John Traynor, had alliances with some of the most dangerous men at the time, including Gilligan, and his allegiances were with them. But Guerin managed to draw from him some of the most valuable information about the life of a self-confessed career criminal. No one knows exactly how she came to know Traynor. Guerin had pursued infamous Dublin criminal Martin Cahill, otherwise known as the General, for six months, until he relented and talked to her on four occasions before she became involved with the Gilligan story. After her death, four men; Gilligan, Paul Ward, Brian Meehan and Paddy Holland were tried for her murder. Ward, alleged to have fired the weapon, was convicted of her murder and jailed for life. Meehan, the driver, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. Gilligan was acquitted of a role in her murder but sentenced to 28 years on drug-related charges. This sentence was later reduced to 20 years. Holland, in prison on drug-related charges, was released a few weeks ago after serving nine years. He continues to proclaim his innocence. The Criminal Assets Bureau was also set up in Ireland to seize assets acquired through illegal activity, and Gilligan's estate and assets have been seized. But the question remains: did Veronica Guerin ever get justice? Guerin's former Sunday Independent colleague Lise Hand poignantly said after the murder: 'That's what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong - that decency will somehow triumph in the end.'