Monday 18 November 2019

Gardai still have no motive or suspect for Raonaid's murder

Nicola Anderson and Gareth Naughton

GARDAI have admitted that they do not know who killed teenager Raonaid Murray, nor the reasons behind the attack that sparked one of the "largest and most enduring" murder investigations in the history of the State.

No motive or prime suspect has ever been identified following the 1999 murder, but gardai are still hoping that a "crisis of conscience" will lead to a breakthrough in the case.

A jury at Dublin Coroner's Court has returned a verdict of unlawful killing by a person unknown at the inquest into the 17-year-old's death.

The teenager was found with serious stab wounds by her own sister after she had been out socialising in Dun Laoghaire.

Following the verdict, Raonaid's mother, Deirdre Murray, appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

"The gardai have pledged their commitment to pursuing this investigation, to seek justice for Raonaid, for us – her family – and for the wider community," she said.

"We have put our trust in the gardai and continue to trust that they will honour their commitment."

Detective Sergeant Don Griffin claimed it was possible that Raonaid's killer had never revealed their identify to anybody else.

"In that respect, a crisis of conscience by the killer or by somebody with direct knowledge of the killer may well bring closure to this investigation and end the prolonged suffering of Raonaid's family," he said.

Det Sgt Griffin said there was "an impression out there in the general public that the investigating gardai in this case know who the culprit is but cannot prove it".

But he said that this is "far from the case". There is no prime suspect identified and the investigation continues.

"It is vital that anybody who has any information on the case, and has not yet come forward in the mistaken belief that the gardai already know the culprit, comes forward now," he said.

The court heard that Raonaid had been at Scott's Pub in Dun Laoghaire and was last seen by friend Yvonne Hughes at 11.20pm on the night of September 3, 1999, heading home to change her clothes before going out again.

Just over an hour later, at 12.30pm, her lifeless body was found by her sister, Sarah, just yards from the family home at Silchester Park in Glenageary, Co Dublin.

She had been stabbed multiple times in the abdomen, shoulder and arm.

Sarah Murray told the inquest she had also been out with friends that night and came upon a body lying lifeless on the roadside at around 12.30am, just a three-minute walk from the family home.

"I realised it was a body, then that it was Raonaid. I saw the injuries and blood and realised that she had been attacked," she said.


One of her friends, a student nurse, checked for a pulse and finding none, told Sarah Murray that she was dead.

Sarah Murray ran home to alert her parents and brother and the family were on the scene as paramedics and gardai attended to Raonaid.

A post-mortem found that Raonaid died from shock and blood loss, mainly due to a stab wound in the left armpit.

Det Sgt Griffin said that neighbours had heard "what in hindsight would be suspicious noises" emanating from a laneway about 30 minutes before Raonaid was found. She was stabbed there and then walked 70 yards toward her home before collapsing, he said.

Gardai have been unable to establish a motive. Raonaid had a "vivacious and infectious personality", said Det Sgt Griffin, and in well over 3,000 statements taken since "there is not one word of enmity toward her".

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News