Monday 21 May 2018

Gardaí have 'grave concerns' over missing chainsaw thug who chopped up body

Keith Ennis (left) with Philip County, who was convicted of cutting up his body
Keith Ennis (left) with Philip County, who was convicted of cutting up his body
Missing Kenneth Brunell, who also mutilated Ennis

Ken Foy

Gardai have serious concerns for the welfare of a Dublin man convicted of dismembering the body of a drug dealer with a chainsaw and dumping the remains in an Amsterdam lake.

Yesterday, officers from Clondalkin Garda Station issued a missing person's appeal in the case of Kenneth Brunell (32) who was last seen at his home in Ballyfermot at 10am on Friday.

"Kenneth is being described as 6ft 1in, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark green coat and blue-black runners," a garda spokeswoman said.

It is not known if Brunell has been the victim of foul play, but sources say that gardai have "grave concerns for his well-being".

Threat

It is understood that he was reported missing by concerned family members but that gardai have no credible intelligence that his life was under threat.

Missing Kenneth Brunell, who also mutilated Ennis
Missing Kenneth Brunell, who also mutilated Ennis

It is believed that Brunell, originally from Palmerstown, has been back in Ireland since he was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for mutilating and disposing of the body of Keith Ennis (29).

Two other Dublin criminals were convicted in the Netherlands in relation to the gruesome case - Philip County (29), originally from Foxdene Gardens, Lucan, but now living in Longford, and Barry McArdle (31), from Drimnagh but now living in Galway.

This duo also each received two-year sentences for acting in a "horrific and disrespectful way" by using a chainsaw to cut up the victim's remains, Amsterdam Criminal Court heard.

All three were cleared of stabbing Ennis to death in Rotterdam in 2009 due to lack of "any reliable technical or other evidence linking them to his murder".

This is not the first time that Brunell has gone missing. In 2014, the High Court twice issued bench warrants for his arrest when he failed to turn up in court as he unsuccessfully battled his extradition to the Netherlands.

When he breached bail conditions on these two occasions, the first was because of an alleged threat on his life and the second due to family issues.

On one occasion, gardai had to put a major operation in place to arrest Brunell in the Finglas area of the capital.

Another time, Brunell only presented himself to gardai when it seemed likely that a bail cash surety provided by his father would be forfeited.

He was finally remanded in custody on the Dutch charges in October 2014 after he had failed to show up in court for a third time.

Brunell was to remain locked up until he was convicted in the Netherlands last year.

Statement

He spent 19 months in jail on remand here and a further 12 months in prison in the Netherlands before he was freed.

Brunell was tried in Amsterdam with McArdle and County.

It later emerged that career criminal County was the only suspect who gave a statement to police about the death of Ennis, but he said he was not present when it happened.

He claimed that McArdle and Brunell were responsible for murdering Ennis in a Rotterdam apartment.

According to County, Ennis was murdered when he went to the flat to socialise, and a row broke out over a PlayStation game.

Brunell and McArdle denied any wrongdoing, claiming County had dropped them off at a local strip club hours before the murder took place. They said they never even met Ennis.

Herald

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