Sunday 20 October 2019

Gardaí find 'significant evidence' in horse box where Quinn chief Kevin Lunney was tortured

Kevin Lunney sustained 'life changing' injuries after being abducted
Kevin Lunney sustained 'life changing' injuries after being abducted
Incident: A garda on the road where Mr Lunney was found
Speaking in the Dail last Thursday, the Tanaiste said the attack on Kevin Lunney was reminiscent of "gangland paramilitary-style punishment beatings of the past"
Kevin Lunney. Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire
Investigation: Members of the PSNI near a laneway leading to the home of Kevin Lunney. Photo: Damien Eagers

Robin Schiller and Ken Foy

Forensic evidence found in a horse box where businessman Kevin Lunney is believed to have been tortured and beaten is "significant", gardaí said yesterday.

Detectives are making good progress in the investigation after a number of sheds and outhouses were searched in the Cavan area in recent days.

A main focus of the inquiry is a horse box found near the village of Ballinagh where it is believed Mr Lunney was taken after his abduction last Tuesday night.

Specialist officers from Garda headquarters were involved in examining the container and sources said that "significant forensic evidence" was recovered.

Last night, officers brought in a crane to take away the large horse box as part of their investigation.

"The container is being seized but due to its size, a crane was brought in to recover it. This is the storage unit gardaí believe Kevin Lunney was assaulted in," a source told the Irish Independent.

The 50-year-old Quinn Industrial Holdings director was abducted from his home near Derrylin in Co Fermanagh before being held captive for almost three hours.

He was later found dumped on the side of the road by a farmer near Cornafean, Co Cavan. He had been beaten and sliced with a Stanley blade while some of his finger nails were also pulled.

Gardaí have already identified a number of suspects they believe were either directly involved or orchestrated the abduction and torture.

They include a Cavan criminal who was captured on CCTV buying bleach.

Kevin Lunney. Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire
Kevin Lunney. Photo: Quinn Industrial Holdings/PA Wire

The substance was poured over Mr Lunney in an attempt to destroy forensic evidence.

Gardaí have increased patrols near homes of QIH board members who have received threats, or have been targeted, following the abduction and assault of Mr Lunney.

QIH director and chairman John McCartin said Mr Lunney remains in Drogheda Hospital where he is "as good as you could expect him to be".

He said Mr Lunney was "happy with the progress" he was making following surgery on his leg and is not expected to have any further surgery.

Investigations are continuing into death threats made against QIH directors, as well as arson attacks and other sinister attacks on people connected to QIH.

A number of incidents have been reported to both gardaí and the PSNI but to date no one has yet been interviewed.

Mr McCartin has confirmed he received five separate threats at face-to-face meetings with a man.

During Mr Lunney's ordeal last week, his captors told him he, Mr McCartin and the rest of the management team would be shot if they didn't resign immediately.

After consulting with company directors, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has asked that Drew Harris investigate the Garda responses during the five-year campaign of violence and intimidation which culminated with the terrifying attack on Mr Lunney.

The investigation of the previously reported threats will form a separate strand to the main investigation into the actual abduction and torture of Mr Lunney last week.

The investigation into last week's assault is also trying to establish the identity of the person or persons who directed the gang to carry out the attack.

Officers are satisfied a crime gang with links to former Provisional IRA members was paid to carry out the attack on Mr Lunney as part of a campaign of intimidation against five senior executives from QIH, who had all previously received warnings from the thugs to resign from the company.

In a joint appeal, the Garda and the PSNI have sought help from anyone who may have seen a black Audi saloon being driven in the Derrylin, Fermanagh, Swanlinbar, Killeshandra and Cavan areas to contact them.

Irish Independent

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