Sunday 21 December 2014

Gardai hunting gang who gave dad 'savage hiding'

Published 10/10/2013 | 04:00

KIDNAPPED father Richard O'Donovan suffered a savage beating while he was held in captivity by a gang of criminal thugs.

He sustained severe injuries to his head, back, arms and legs and was also threatened by his captors that he would be killed.

However, he has not yet indicated why he believes he was abducted from near his home in Virginia, Co Cavan, on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr O'Donovan, a father of three, was released by his kidnappers yesterday morning and made his way to Cavan General Hospital for treatment for his wounds.

Last night, investigating gardai were awaiting the go-ahead from medical staff before they attempted to carry out a detailed interview with him.

Officers were not certain of the motive for the abduction but said they were satisfied it was organised by a gang involved in serious crime.

Richard O'Donovan's home on the Swiftbrook Glen estate in Virginia, Co Cavan
Richard O'Donovan's home on the Swiftbrook Glen estate in Virginia, Co Cavan
Mr O'Donovan's partner Solvita
Richard O'Donovan who was abducted in Cavan
The area at the entrance to the Swiftbrook Glen estate, where Mr O'Donovan was bundled into a BMW X5

They think Mr O'Donovan had fallen foul of associates of criminals and that the abduction was linked to that row rather than connected to a personal issue.

After Mr O'Donovan was released he decided to make his own way to hospital for medical treatment.

But when he learnt of the huge media interest in his kidnapping and growing fears for his safety, he decided to contact a family member to make it clear that he was free.

RAMMED

Gardai were then alerted and saw him in the hospital but could not interview him at that stage.

Last night they were still trying to firmly establish where he had been held hostage overnight and how he travelled from there to the hospital.

Officers now believe that the kidnappers used more than one vehicle in the incident.

At least two men were involved in dragging Mr O'Donovan from his blue/grey BMW 3 series car as he drove out of the Swiftbrook Glen estate, where he had been living recently, in Virginia.

He had previously lived at another address in Virginia and in nearby Mullagh. He is originally from Navan, Co Meath.

Gardai said two to three men were in a silver BMW X5 SUV, which rammed his car, and then they pulled him out and began beating him before bundling him into the back of the X5, which sped off at high speed.

Several locals spotted the attack and gardai built up a detailed description of the kidnappers, who made no attempt to cover their faces, as well as the getaway vehicle, which had a 03 MN registration plate.

Officers said it was likely that the gang had been planning the abduction for days but could have acted on the spur of the moment when they came across Mr O'Donovan in his car and took a chance on not being identified.

One officer said last night: "It looks like weapons were used when he was beaten again while being held in captivity but he did not confirm that. At any rate, he got a savage hiding.

"The incident appears to have been a warning to him from the gang but what is not yet clear is the reason for the warning," he added.

Initially, gardai blamed a gang operating mainly in the west for organising the kidnap. But last night officers said they had widened their inquiries and were now examining several options.

It is believed that Mr O'Donovan had been in dispute with a number of people in recent weeks.

By Tom Brady Security Editor

Irish Independent

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