Sunday 25 September 2016

Gardai to fly out to South Africa to quiz couple over double murder of men in Cavan

Ken Foy

Published 20/05/2015 | 07:21

Eoin O’Connor and Anthony Keegan (inset), whose bodies were found on Lough Sheelin, were victims of organised crime
Eoin O’Connor and Anthony Keegan (inset), whose bodies were found on Lough Sheelin, were victims of organised crime

Gardai plan to travel to South Africa to interview a man and a woman about the brutal double murder of two Dublin men whose bodies were discovered on a lake island.

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The bodies of best pals Eoin O'Connor (33) and Anthony Keegan (32) were found on Lough Sheelin, Co Meath on May 26 last, over a month after they were reported missing from Cavan where it is suspected that they were lured to their gruesome deaths.

Anthony Keegan
Anthony Keegan

A detailed investigation into the case is being led by officers based at Kells Garda Station and, so far, three men have been arrested in the case.

They were all questioned on suspicion of withholding information and were all released without charge.

Read more here: 'If people could step into our world, they'd see how many lives have been destroyed' - Mother of gangland victim  

Sources revealed last night that gardai have built up a "very clear picture" of events surrounding the murders and it is expected that senior officers will travel to South Africa in the coming months to interview a couple who may have knowledge of the sickening crime.

Eoin O'Connor
Eoin O'Connor

"This will be the next phase of this investigation. There is no extradition agreement in place with South Africa so it is a tricky situation that will need to be handled with extreme care," a source explained.

"However, gardai know where they are going with this and this case can be cracked. There has been a huge amount of work done behind the scenes over the last number of months," the source added.

Read more here: Woman in the frame for double murder  

The couple gardai want to question about the murders are believed to be in South Africa after fleeing there, possibly via the UK and Nigeria, shortly after April 22 last year when the victims were last seen alive.

Gardai at the double murder scene on Lough Sheelin
Gardai at the double murder scene on Lough Sheelin

Sources say gardai are "fully convinced" that Keegan and O'Connor were set up by one of their closest associates, a feared Dublin gangster in his 40s who was arrested earlier this year by armed detectives in a separate high-profile investigation in the capital.

Gardai have been working on the theory that the man on the run in South Africa - who is not Irish and was involved in drug dealing and pipe bomb making here - had a €30,000 debt owed to the Dublin crimelord "wiped clean" if he took part in the murder and disposal of the bodies of O'Connor and Keegan.

Read more here: Organised crime behind a quarter of all murders  

It has emerged that the murdered duo had "lost money and drugs" belonging to a number of dangerous Dublin gangs in the months before their sinister disappearance which led to them being considered "disposable".

DISCOVERY: Gardai at the scene. Photo: Stephen Collins/ Collins Photos
DISCOVERY: Gardai at the scene. Photo: Stephen Collins/ Collins Photos

Port-mortem results showed that both O' Connor and Keegan were shot in the back of the head "execution style" and at least two people were involved in the shooting, with others helping to dispose of the bodies.

An unsuspecting fisherman alerted gardai to the badly decomposed bodies of the two Coolock men on the afternoon of May 26 last year after he noticed a terrible smell from an island in Lough Sheelin.

The bodies were tied together and found covered over with a tarpaulin.

Detectives suspect that the two men were shot in another location and were brought to the island on a boat on the night they disappeared.

A boat has been seized as part of the detailed investigation.

Two men, one from Lithuania and the other of African descent, were arrested in Cavan town last June while a man aged in his 50s was arrested in Co Meath last December, but there has been no arrests since then.

The two murdered pals were described as inseparable friends at their joint funeral mass last June.

The sister of Anthony described the tragic pair's "inseparable" friendship.

Margaret Keegan said her brother thought of Eoin as "his brother from a different mother".

She also thanked the gardai and those who helped in the search for her brother's remains.

Speaking of her brother, she said: "We will be lost without you, I just wish we had more time."

Herald

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