GARDAI have identified the chief suspect in the killing of a 29-year-old father of one who was beaten to death after a party.
The Herald can reveal that a number of revellers took huge amounts of ketamine during a drug-crazed party which led to the death of Vincent Maher in Finglas on Saturday, January 11.
Detectives believe Mr Maher was savagely assaulted in a row over a stolen wallet rather than broken furniture as they continue to hunt for the criminal suspect who may not have acted alone in the attack.
There have been five arrests, including two women, so far in the investigation into Mr Maher's suspected murder at an apartment in north Dublin
Detectives have established that many of the people who were at the party were “off their heads” on a wide variety of drugs including ecstasy, cocaine, alcohol and ketamine, the designer drug that was originally made to tranquillise horses.
A senior source said: “This has been a very tough investigation because officers have been told a lot of lies and have been dealing with people who were completely off their heads on drink and drugs.
“What is certain is that there should be definitely more arrests in this case, and gardai are looking to speak to an individual who was at that party.”
Ketamine, known as “Special K”, is a strong hallucinogenic drug that became popular during the dance music scene in the 1990s.
Doctors have described it as a dangerous barbiturate that can cause breathing problems and heart failure.
However, it was not previously linked to the extremely violent behaviour that led to Ballymun man Mr Maher's death just over a fortnight ago.
Mr Maher's body was found in the bedroom of his apartment with a number of injuries including a serious one to his head.
It may take weeks before the investigation is officially upgraded to murder because gardai are awaiting the results of toxicology tests from Mr Maher's body to determine if the amount of alcohol and drugs in his system played a significant role in his death.
Mr Maher was an unemployed painter from the Finglas area.
He was separated from his partner, but his seven-year-old daughter was a regular visitor to his home in the Springmount apartment complex.
A neighbour said he had been disturbed by shouting and thumping noises at around 4.30am.
He said: “I was woken a few times during the night. It started around 10. It was just a regular party but then there was shouting like, ‘You better pay for that! You better f ***ing pay for that!'.
“Then there was a few thumps, loud thumps. But it was like the party went on after that for a while.
“Three fellas jumped over the gate (at the entrance to the apartments) and ran away, but that was later.”