Monday 26 January 2015

Girl (16) is suspected member of garda murder gang

Paul Williams

Published 01/02/2013 | 05:00

Floral tributes on the grave of Garda Detective Adrian Donohoe in Lordship, near Dundalk
Garda Adrian Donohoe
Gardai continue their investigation in to the murder of Adrian Donohoe at Bellurgan outside Dundalk

THE gang suspected of murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe may include a girl as young as 16.

The teenager is one of up to eight suspects -- the oldest of whom are only in their early 20s -- who have been nominated by garda intelligence as being involved in the horrific attack last Friday night.

The file, said sources, includes an 18-year-old criminal from Co Louth and there were also police reports about the teenage girl.

Gardai suspect that a total of up to 20 people may have been involved or have knowledge of the killing of Det Gda Donohoe, who was shot dead at Lordship Credit Union.

Apart from the five raiders involved in the actual incident, up to three other gang members were involved in organising the disposal of the getaway car and monitoring the Lordship premises -- one week ago today.

Some of the suspects are understood to live not far from the scene of the crime, with the rest living in South Armagh.

It has also been confirmed that the gang members have already been the subject of garda investigations in the past few years and are well known to them.

In a previous case detectives compiled a file for the DPP recommending that some of the prime suspects for the murder be charged with robbery offences.

However, it was deemed that there was not enough evidence with which to secure a conviction, and no charges were brought.

The killers are part of a loose grouping of dangerous criminals led by a man in his mid-20s from Crossmaglen in South Armagh.

They have been involved in armed robberies from shops, car theft and drug dealing. Nine members of the group are currently facing charges in the courts for various offences.

They have been involved in armed robberies from shops, car theft and drug dealing. Nine members of the group are currently facing charges in the courts for various offences.

The suspects are all described as being violent and volatile but "not very smart". Sources say that the main suspect would have no difficulty killing other gang members if he thought they were prepared to talk to the authorities.

It is understood that investigators are compiling detailed profiles on each of the suspects concerned which includes details of their girlfriends, associates and family members.

Gardai believe that up to 20 people will now have full knowledge about the murder and they have appealed to them to come forward.

"These people have families and friends, and if they each confided to one other person, the number of people who know the inside story is significant," the source said.

However, sources have told the Irish Independent that senior officers have not yet decided to start making arrests.

"There is a lot of material on the table and a lot of intelligence received which we are very happy with. The investigation is gaining momentum and there has been a phenomenal response from the public," a source said.

"However, we have to be patient. Intelligence is no good without evidence, and there is no point arresting people until we have evidence to put to them.

"We are also receiving incredible support and assistance from the PSNI who have laid every resource they have at our disposal."

Meanwhile it has emerged that members of various dissident republican gangs have been anxious to disassociate themselves from the outrage.

However, the intense police activity now going on along the Border is disrupting the various smuggling operations being carried out by republicans.

"Criminals operating along the Border are furious over this murder because the police activity is bad for their illegal activities. They have been anxious to inform us they had nothing to do with it," the source added.

Republican gangs may even decide to take action against the killers of Adrian Donohoe because of the trouble they have caused.

There are up to 100 officers still involved in the huge manhunt which is under the command of Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny, the officer with overall responsibility for the border region.

Detectives and specialists from the Garda National Support Services under Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne are also providing support and assistance to their colleagues in Dundalk.

They include the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Special Branch, the Organised Crime Unit, the Emergency Response Unit and the Crime and Security section.

Investigators admit that the Border will present "some difficulties" in their enquiries. The PSNI cannot intensively patrol the south Armagh area where the culprits live, because of the threat of being attacked by dissident republicans.

If arrests are made in the North the PSNI will interview the suspects. Gardai, who will be given a watching brief, will supply the questions and the evidence to be put to each person in custody.

Irish Independent

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