News Irish News

Saturday 24 August 2019

Gardaí believe man (37) knifed to death in row over cocaine during drugs binge

Crime scene: The Arklow house is sealed off by gardaí. Photos: collins
Crime scene: The Arklow house is sealed off by gardaí. Photos: collins
The forensics team begins its work. Photo: Collins
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Detectives investigating the murder of a man in Wicklow believe he was stabbed multiple times in the head and torso by a man known to him.

The victim, named locally as Stephen 'Apples' Kavanagh, was stabbed to death at a house in Arklow shortly after midnight yesterday.

The 37-year-old is believed to have been involved in a row with a 42-year-old man at the house before the stabbing.

A woman known to both men was also in the property at the time, but had no involvement in the incident and is believed to have been in a different room at the time of the fatal assault.

Emergency services were called to the property at the Crescent, Meadowvale, at around 12.30am.

Kavanagh was discovered with serious knife wounds and was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin. However, he was pronounced dead shortly after 3am.

Detectives are investigating if the fatal stabbing happened because of a row "over missing drugs between the two men".

Gardaí believe Kavanagh was stabbed with a household knife, which has since been recovered and will be examined.

"Kavanagh and the suspect were not very close pals or anything like that but they seem to have hooked up over the weekend and went on a drugs session," a senior source said.

"At some stage late on Sunday night, they seem to have got in a row over drugs that had gone missing from the cocaine session they were on and this is what led to the murder."

The chief and only suspect in the case was not in the house when gardaí were alerted. However, he presented himself to Arklow garda station shortly afterwards where it is understood that he was in a very intoxicated state and arrested.

Sources said he was not fit for questioning until around 2pm yesterday and he remained in custody last night.

The suspect is known to gardaí but had not come to their attention in recent years.

This individual has convictions going back over a decade, including forgery offences and possessing heroin for the purpose of sale or supply.

Yesterday afternoon gardaí carried out door-to-door inquiries in the Meadowvale estate where the attack occurred.

A large group of children played out on the road and in a playground located across from the property as members of the Garda Technical Bureau entered the house to carry out a forensic examination.

Fr Michael Murtagh, the co-parish priest for Arklow, expressed his sympathies with the victim's family.

"This is a huge tragedy for the local community to wake up to on a Bank Holiday Monday. This is a young man who should have been in the high productivity years of his life," he said. "My sympathies go out to the family and friends at the time of this tragedy."

Locals in the area yesterday said the victim was not living in the area, and that it is usually a quiet residential estate.

"I don't know the man at all, we've never heard of any trouble at that house before. I don't think he lived here," one local man said.

Kavanagh was originally from the South Green area of Arklow and was known to gardaí. Locals yesterday said that he came from a very decent family.

He was previously given a six-month sentence after threatening a number of schoolgirls with a Stanley blade.

When he was aged 27, he was charged with producing an article in the course of a fight, possession of a knife, and assault at the Riverwalk, Arklow, on June 12, 2007.

In evidence, one of his victims, who was 17 at the time, said Kavanagh held a blade up to her face.

He then attacked her, boxed and pulled her by the hair and kicked her while she was on the ground. The victim told the court Kavanagh held her down while another teenager hit her.

In 2016, he was given a 12-month suspended sentence for theft of over €1,000 worth of tools and CDs. At the time the court heard he had 71 previous convictions.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News