Thursday 19 October 2017

Gardaí investigating murder of innocent dad-of-three arrest chief suspect

Stephen Lynch
Stephen Lynch

Ken Foy

Gardai investigating the murder of an innocent dad-of-three have arrested the chief suspect in the case.

Stephen Lynch (32) suffered fatal injuries when he was deliberately run over by a car in Brookview Close, Tallaght, on the evening of last April 13.

Detectives quickly identified the four men who were in the car and received information that they were in the area to collect drug debts.

It is suspected that the driver is an extremely volatile criminal from Crumlin who has been involved in a bitter local feud.

The funeral of Stephen Lynch (32) at St Aidans Church in Brookview, Tallaght (Photo: Colin O'Riordain)
The funeral of Stephen Lynch (32) at St Aidans Church in Brookview, Tallaght (Photo: Colin O'Riordain)

This suspect was arrested in Cloverhill Prison last week and taken to Tallaght Garda Station.

The thug, who is aged in his mid-20s, was questioned for several hours and DNA swabs were taken from him.

He was then returned to jail, and a file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

"This individual is extremely well-known to gardai for offences such as firearms, assaults and attacking officers," a source said last night.

The funeral of Stephen Lynch (32) at St Aidans Church in Brookview, Tallaght (Photo: Colin O'Riordain)
The funeral of Stephen Lynch (32) at St Aidans Church in Brookview, Tallaght (Photo: Colin O'Riordain)

"His arrest is considered a significant breakthrough in this case."

It was the first arrest in the detailed investigation, which is being carried out by Tallaght gardai.

The funeral of Stephen Lynch (32) at St Aidans Church in Brookview, Tallaght (Photo: Colin O'Riordain)
The funeral of Stephen Lynch (32) at St Aidans Church in Brookview, Tallaght (Photo: Colin O'Riordain)

The car involved was a silver Ford Focus hatchback that was later seized.

Sources said last night that more arrests are expected in the case, including the thug's younger brother, who is alleged to have been in the car when Mr Lynch was murdered.

The victim, who was from the Glenshane estate, was not known to be involved in any criminality.

Gardai believe he got involved in a row with four men who were in the silver Ford Focus, and was then driven over and dragged along the road.

Gardai believe the car may have been driven back and forth over him as well.

The driver then fled the scene on foot and is suspected of having got into another car.

The two cars linked to the incident were not burned-out and were seized by gardai for forensic testing.

A passer-by, who was in Brookview Close when the attack happened, tried to stop one of the men from escaping but was unsuccessful after a brief scuffle.

Armed gardai previously raided a number of houses as part of their detailed investigation, including the home of the notorious Crumlin brothers.

In an April raid connected to the investigation, around 20 heavily-armed officers stormed the Tallaght home of a 21-year-old former boxer, who is also suspected of having been in the car involved in the savage hit-and-run.

About a dozen Regional Support Unit officers, some armed with machine guns, arrived at the scene in three vehicles, while about half-a-dozen detectives were also involved in the search, which lasted for more than 90 minutes.

Gardai left the property with a large number of evidence bags containing clothes and other items seized inside.

Senior officers decided that a heavily-armed garda presence was required for the raid because of concerns that the 21-year-old had firearms and because a risk assessment on the suspect showed that he could be "armed and dangerous".

Mr Lynch was remembered at his funeral as a man who "lived for his family".

His younger brother, Ray, told the congregation: "He was a special kind of person, he was different, special in many ways. He lived for us, he lived for his family. Stephen was the life and soul of every party."

Mr Lynch's mother, Vera, said the day he died was the worst of her life.

"Stephen had his own personal problems, and I knew he was never going to get old, but I just didn't expect it to be like this," she said.

The gang suspected of being involved in Mr Lynch's murder have been involved in a separate bitter dispute in Crumlin.

It broke out over a €500 drugs debt that was owed by associates of one of the groups to the other.

Armed gardai have been forced to intervene on a number of occasions and seize weapons, preventing serious attacks being carried out.

Sources say there have been more than half-a-dozen serious incidents linked to the dispute in recent months.

However, firearms have only been used once, and this was when a house was "shot up" a number of months ago.

The man arrested last week previously served a jail term for firearms offences and was causing mayhem at the time of the murder following his release from jail.

Herald

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