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Monday 20 May 2019

Chief suspect in fatal 'one-punch' attack is linked to drugs gang

Vincent Kelly (inset) was found injured outside a hotel in Bray Photo Gareth Chaney Collins
Vincent Kelly (inset) was found injured outside a hotel in Bray Photo Gareth Chaney Collins
Vincent Kelly

Ken Foy and Conor Feehan

The chief suspect for a one-punch attack that caused the death of a 45-year-old man at the weekend has handed himself in to gardai.

Vincent Kelly was found unconscious with a serious head injury outside the Royal Hotel in Bray, Co Wicklow, in the early hours of Saturday.

He was rushed to Beaumont Hospital but was pronounced dead on Sunday.

The assault was captured on high-quality CCTV, and the Herald can reveal that a "person of major interest" in the investigation voluntarily presented himself at Bray Garda Station over the weekend.

The 43-year-old suspect, who has close links to one of the east coast's most dangerous drugs gangs, was not arrested and is understood to have given officers an account of what led to the events that resulted in Mr Kelly's death.

"An arrest has not yet happened in this case, but it is fair to say that gardai are following a definite line of inquiry - a gentleman has presented and is helping gardai with their inquiries," a senior source said

"Once the results of the post-mortem are properly analysed, gardai will be able to move forward in this investigation."

Mr Kelly, the father of young children, lived in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow.

His wife, Heather McCullagh Kelly, told the Herald on Sunday that she was too upset to speak, though she described Mr Kelly as "a great father to his children".

The couple had only been married since last August, local sources said.

The suspect has a previous criminal conviction for drug possession for sale or supply, but he is not considered a major gangland criminal.

He is the brother of a notorious criminal who has killed in the past and is serving time for manslaughter, and who is said to be the main organiser of the drug trade for Bray and surrounding areas.

It is not clear what led to the incident that resulted in Mr Kelly's death.

His Facebook page shows he studied art at Bray Institute of Further Education and was a former pupil at St Kilian's Community School.

His death comes less than a week after the murder of Bobby Messett and the wounding of Katie Taylor's father Pete and another man, Ian Britton, at Bray Boxing Club last Tuesday morning.

The two incidents are unrelated.

"Two deaths in just five days is pretty bad, but these are unrelated incidents and people should feel assured that gardai have enough resources to deal with both cases," a senior source told the Herald last night.

Gardai are continuing to appeal for information in the case despite their significant breakthrough.


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