Friday 21 October 2016

Canal murder victim may have met his killer by arrangement

Published 21/01/2016 | 02:30

Murder victim Kenneth O'Brien, whose torso was found in the Grand Canal, may have met his killer by arrangement.

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Gardaí are now trying to establish his final movements after he left his home at Lealand Road in Clondalkin, west Dublin last Friday. He told his partner that he was going on a job outside Dublin.

Mr O'Brien (33) did not have any transport as his partner was using the family car and officers are carrying out inquiries in the area to determine if he left Clondalkin by public transport or was collected by somebody.

Officers told the Irish Independent they were examining whether he had made an appointment to meet his killer.

Investigators believe he was killed because of a personal grudge and want to find out if he had been involved in a previous incident or had received any threat that he took seriously.

Detectives are tracking down his friends and acquaintances to build up a picture of Mr O'Brien's movements and contacts since he came home from Australia last month.

They are also checking his phone and email records and hope to trace those who had been in touch with him over the past month.

Gardaí have carried out an initial interview with his partner, who had remained in the couple's Clondalkin home with her two children while Mr O'Brien was in Australia.

The focus of the investigation has now moved from north Kildare, where the torso was discovered, to west Dublin.

Forensic officers searched the victim's home for clues yesterday and took away a number of items for examination.

Senior investigators stressed last night, however, that they were keeping an open mind on the motive for his murder.

Fingerprint checks are continuing on the heavy plastic that was used to wrap the torso before it was placed in the suitcase and then dumped in the canal.

Gardaí are also hoping for more help from the public in locating where the murder was carried out. They have asked people with outhouses or premises to recall if they had seen anybody acting suspiciously there on either Friday or early Saturday morning.

Although the torso was not recovered from the canal until 3.30pm on Saturday, other walkers had spotted the suitcase as early as 9am but thought it was discarded litter.

Mr O'Brien was reported missing by his family at Clondalkin Garda Station on Saturday evening after he had failed to make any phone contact.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald yesterday described the murder as a most shocking and distressing case.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan said the murder was gruesome and offered the sympathies of the force to the O'Brien family.

She appealed for anybody, who might have information on the case, "no matter how small they might think", to come forward.

Irish Independent

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