Thursday 29 September 2016

Gardai appeal for witnesses after man's body found in Kildare woods

Body is believed to be missing Dublin criminal

Alan Sherry

Published 03/09/2016 | 17:06

Philip Finnegan. Picture: Garda Press Office
Philip Finnegan. Picture: Garda Press Office

Gardai are appealing for witnesses following the discovery of a man's body in a woods in Co Kildare on Friday night.

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A murder investigation is now underway.

Scene where a body was found in Rahin Woods Co Kildare
Scene where a body was found in Rahin Woods Co Kildare

The body found in the shallow grave in rural Kildare is believed to be that of a Dublin criminal who disappeared last month.

Philip Finnegan (24), from Aikenhead House, Dublin 8, went missing Wednesday August 10.

The man's body was partially buried and an attempt had been made to set it on fire.

Gardai believe  he was killed by associates of jailed gang boss Brian Rattigan.

Scene where a body was found in Rahin Woods Co Kildare
Scene where a body was found in Rahin Woods Co Kildare

Detectives had been working on the theory Finnegan was abducted by people known to him and killed before his body was dumped in Rahin Woods on the Kildare-Meath border around 8km outside Edenderry, Co. Offaly.

Gardai had already being carrying out searches in the area when a local person was out walking their dogs in the woods made the grim find of a body around 8.30pm on Friday night.

Rahin Woods, Edenderry Co. Offaly. Scene of discovered body in the woods.
Rahin Woods, Edenderry Co. Offaly. Scene of discovered body in the woods.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster visited the site yesterday and gardai suspect the body is that of Finnegan.

Gardai already intensified a search operation in the area this week before the body was found.

There were workers cutting timber in the forest on the night of Finnegan’s disappearance.

“It looks like they either panicked or were amateur in what they were doing because the body was only partially buried and was always going to be found,” said a source.

Gardai at the scene
Gardai at the scene

The woods have been the site of a number of illegal raves in recent times.

Gardai have identified two criminals known to Finnegan who they suspect may have been involved in his death and are extremely hopeful of bringing charges in the case.

Gardai received information that two people known to Finnegan who were in prison at the same time as him may have been involved in his disappearance.

They are investigating whether he was killed after falling out with associates of Rattigan who said he owed them money.

He previously escaped death when a gunman opened fire at him and Owen Gaffney in a drive-by shooting on Lower Basin Street in July 2013.

Five shots were fired in the incident but neither man was injured.

In December that year Finnegan was caught up in a bloody brawl when two rival groups met by accident in McDonald’s on Grafton Street.

Later that day a hatchet was thrown through the front window of his home at Mary Aikenhead House but no complaint was made.

Last year he was acquitted of firearms possession after a semi-automatic handgun capable of firing blanks was found during a raid of his home.

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