Suspect in couple's disappearance taunts gardai during search
The chief suspect in the disappearance of a couple missing for the last four months taunted and laughed at gardai as they searched for the pair.
Gardai have been combing the area along the Dublin-Meath border for the remains of Willie Maughan (35) and his girlfriend Anna Varslavane (21), who have been missing since April.
It is feared the couple may have been abducted from their Gormanstown, Co Dublin, home on April 14 earlier this year and subsequently murdered.
The Herald has learned that the main suspect in the disappearance of the couple, a volatile gangster aged in his early 30s, watched gardai as they searched an area along the Devlin River.
"The man who garda suspect had a major role to play in Mr Maughan and his girlfriend going missing stood watch over the area gardai were searching the entire time.
"He stood on a bridge overlooking the search area for the full two days the operation was being conducted in that particular part, and even taunted gardai," a source said.
"He was brazen enough to even tell officers 'you're looking in the wrong place, they're not buried there', which shows that this man feels untouchable."
The settled Traveller from north Dublin, who is involved in organised crime can not be named, as he is currently facing serious charges in relation to a separate incident.
Sources also described how the man "is feared by gardai" and is currently under investigation for attempting to kill or seriously injure an officer, although no charges have yet been brought against him.
It is believed the thug drove his car at a garda as the officer attempted to carry out a search of his north Dublin home.
The man's gang have been involved in a bitter feud in the Balbriggan area, which has seen several shootings, assaults and mass street brawls.
So far the searches for Mr Maughan and Mrs Varslavane have yielded no results, with a task force comprising officers from the Dublin Metropolitan Region North area involved in the operation.
Maughan was a former associate of the man suspected of being involved in his disappearance, but cut his ties with the feared gangster.
Sources believe the plumber may have been abducted over his knowledge of the killing of Benny Whitehouse (35), who was murdered in September 2014.
The man suspected of being involved in the couple's disappearance is also suspected of organising the Whitehouse killing.
Mr Maughan's parents previously told the Herald that they "fear the worst" and that their son was killed because "he knew too much".
"My son knew something that he should not have known and that is why they have been taken away," his father Joseph said.
"Our son is not a criminal and his girlfriend is an innocent girl who has no family in this country. We want them back no matter what," Joseph said.
"We are fearing the worst but praying to God for the best."
William and Anna had been living in a mobile home on land just off the M1 motorway at Gormanstown in recent months.
The missing man had stopped working as a plumber due to his drug habit but recently told his parents he was going to make a fresh start.
He and his girlfriend were moving back to the family home in west Dublin on the day they went missing.
He last spoke to his mother at around 2pm on Tuesday, April 14. Helen believes they were abducted as she was on her way to pick them up.
"William had arranged to come home that day and I was on my way to collect him. He said he was breaking his links to the people he was associated with and didn't want them to know that he was leaving," she said.