Thursday 19 April 2018

Cold-case suspect quizzed

Man held 10 years after grisly discovery of charred remains

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE prime suspect in the violent murder of a drug dealer whose charred remains were found in the woods was last night being quizzed by detectives.

The remains of Martin Nolan (34) were discovered in July 2000 in woodland between Tipperary and Waterford.

Nolan vanished in November 1999 and it was not until the next summer that his burned body was uncovered.

It took four months for forensic tests to positively identify the remains as those of Nolan.

Cold-case detectives arrested the chief suspect in the case in Dublin airport at 4pm on Thursday before bringing him to Waterford city garda station for questioning.

The man, in his 40s, is being detained for the alleged possession of a firearm and can be held until Monday -- by which time he must be either charged or released.

Nolan of Tramore, Co Waterford, disappeared days before he was due before Waterford Circuit Court to face charges relating to the possession of thousands of euro worth of cannabis and ecstasy for sale or supply.

In 2006, Gary Penkert (37), of Waterford city, was found guilty at the Central Criminal Court of perverting the course of justice and withholding information on the case from gardai.

At the time of his trial, the jury heard Penkert was never suspected of being involved in the murder.

Detectives have never charged a person with Nolan's murder but dozens have been arrested in connection with the case over the past 10 years.

It is understood the man in custody in Waterford had left the country after Mr Nolan's disappearance.

A few days after Nolan was reported missing in 1999, forestry officials alerted gardai after they noticed fresh blood covered by sand.

Gardai discovered a piece of bone at the scene.

It was not until some months later that two fishermen found a makeshift pyre containing Nolan's remains in Clondonnell Woods in July 2000. The fishermen had earlier seen a fire at the site on Tipperary and Waterford border.

A murder investigation was launched but a number of key suspects fled abroad.

Martin Nolan was a well-known drug dealer in the south-east since the late 1980s and was regularly under garda surveillance.

Irish Independent

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