Saturday 21 January 2017

Garda checkpoints set up close to where torso of Kenneth O'Brien found

Cormac McQuinn and ALan O'Keeffe

Published 22/01/2016 | 14:36

Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered
Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered
Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered
Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered
Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered
Left: Kenneth O'Brien, and right, Gardai at the scene
Garda divers resume their search at Ardclough Canal where the dismembered body of Kenneth O’Brien was found. Photo: Collins

Gardai mounted checkpoints tonight in the vicinity of the Grand Canal at Ardclough, County Kildare, where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was found in a suitcase floating in the canal.

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Passing motorists were signalled to stop near the entrance of Ardclough GAA club by gardai armed with clipboards.  Gardai asked motorists and passersby if had used the route at the same time last week on the day the victim disappeared and if they saw anything suspicious in the area.

Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered
Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered

Several gardai were involved in the operation to speak to as many users of local routes as possible last night.

A garda spokesman said it was planned to mount a number of checkpoints in the area throughout the night in the hope to gaining new information to help the murder investigation.

Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered
Gardai carry out roadside checkpoints at Ardclough close to where the torso of Kenneth O'Brien was discovered

The spokesman said it was entirely fortuitous that gardai searching premises in the Ardclough area uncovered a stash of illegal esctacy tablets worth €50,000. No arrests were made.

It is not believed that the seizure is related to the murder investigation

Earlier today, it was revealed that a little girl has been left traumatised after she came upon the suitcase containing murdered Kenneth O’Brien’s torso after it was fished from the Grand Canal.

The nine-year-old was cycling along the canal at Ardclough, Co Kildare last Saturday, accompanied by her mum and aunt, when the couple who retrieved the suitcase warned her not to come any closer.

 The couple who found the suitcase spoke to the girl’s aunt about why they warned her to stay away.

“They said they had fished a case out of the canal and that they had called the gardai because there was something not right about it,” the girl’s mum explained.

“The garda went down and he opened the case. He put his hand up, called us and just said ‘sorry, this is a crime scene, you can’t go any further’,” she told the Liffey Champion.

 It was later that evening that the girl learned the horror of what she had witnessed that day after seeing a news bulletin.

 Her mother tried to turn it off but later switched back to the channel and the report on the finding of Mr O’Brien’s body was referred to at the end.

“She burst out crying, but at least she didn’t see it [the contents of the suitcase],” her mum said.

Read more: 'We can't understand this' - Friends of Kenneth O'Brien in shock as mechanic killed 'over personal grudge'

 She spoke of her own distress at coming upon the “surreal” crime scene during a quiet afternoon walk.

 Earlier this week, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald described the murder of Kenneth O’Brien as a shocking and distressing case.

 Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan offered the sympathies of the force to the O’Brien family.

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