Monday 14 October 2019

Arrest over the theft of Crusader skull from church crypt

Found: One of the skulls stolen from St Michan’s and recovered by gardaí.
Found: One of the skulls stolen from St Michan’s and recovered by gardaí.

Ken Foy

A MAN in his 20s was last night being questioned by gardaí over the theft of two skulls - one the head of an 800-year-old mummy - and the desecration of a crypt at a Dublin church.

The suspect was arrested around 6pm yesterday and taken to Bridewell Garda Station where he was questioned.

It comes just days after the mummified skull of a Crusader and another skull, which had been taken from the tomb at St Michan's Church nearly two weeks ago, were returned.

They were discovered together in a bag on the grounds of the northside church on Tuesday after apparently being left back at the location overnight, and gardaí were notified.

It was this week that a suspect in the desecration of the crypt was caught on CCTV walking along the quays with the head of an 800-year-old mummy and another skull in a shopping bag.

The intruder gained entry to the crypt by using an iron bar to break through a steel door and a metal gate, and detectives believe that he had visited the church in the past.

Substantial damage was caused to the tourist attraction, and the head of an 800-year-old mummy called The Crusader was stolen.

The 400-year-old remains of a nun also suffered damage.

A skull which had been placed on a coffin in the tomb had also been taken.

Gardaí did not release details about the "second head" for operational reasons because of fears that "people with strange tendencies" might come forward, claiming that they had false information about The Crusader's head.

A forensic anthropologist has been enlisted to determine what damage may have been caused to the skulls.

Gardaí have said that experts from the National Museum of Ireland are acting in an advisory capacity.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said he was "delighted" that both the head of The Crusader and the skull taken from St Michan's Church has been recovered.

Irish Independent

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