Gardai believe suspect in missing person case has killed before
The main suspect in the disappearance and likely murder of Ballyfermot man James Kenny McDonagh is also suspected of murdering and dismembering the body of another Dublin man in the Netherlands last year.
The death of Lancashire hoodlum Jason Lee Martin, in what gardai said was one of the bloodiest brawls they have ever encountered, sparked the feud that led to the disappearance and presumed murder of Mr McDonagh.
Martin, 39, was staying with his Dublin associates while on the run from Lancashire police, who wanted to question him about the abduction and presumed murder of a construction site engineer in Rochdale in August 2009.
Last week, the family and friends of Mr McDonagh were frantically searching an area stretching from the Grand Canal to Peamont Hospital in Newcastle, Co Dublin, where his car was found abandoned, and out as far as Straffan in Co Kildare.
As of yesterday, gardai had no firm indications of where Mr McDonagh, a minor criminal figure with convictions relating to robbery while in his early 20s, might be. His family has not heard from him since he disappeared on October 27.
Mr McDonagh was an associate of the murdered Corbally brothers Kenneth, 32, and Paul, 35, from Ballyfermot. On October 24, an attempt was made to kill another associate, but Robert Ryle, 30, was killed instead.
The Ballyfermot feud, sparked by the brawl in which Martin was killed, has involved dozens of attempts at killings, shootings and stabbings. An attempt was made on the life of the Corballys' main rival in April this year.
Shots were fired at him as he was riding a quad-bike around Memorial Park in Ballyfermot, but he managed to escape. Another leading member of his gang was attacked as he sat in his car.
He was stabbed repeatedly in the head and shoulders but also managed to escape. He made no complaint to the gardai when they tried to interview him.
The Ballyfermot figure who gardai suspect of being the planner and main mover in the disappearance and likely murder of Mr McDonagh is described by gardai as one of the most brutal gangland figures that they have ever encountered.
He has been arrested many times and charged with serious offences, but has spent relatively little time in prison over the past decade, although he is suspected of murders dating back to early 2000.
He emerged as the most likely suspect in the murder of Keith Ennis, 29, whose dismembered body was discovered in a canal outside Amsterdam in March last year.
A post-mortem examination suggested that Ennis had been stabbed to death and then had his arms, legs and head cut off, and placed in bin bags, which were then slung into the canal system.
Ennis was not involved in either of the feuding Ballyfermot gangs, but was an associate of the south inner city gang led by "Fat" Freddie Thompson. Ennis had been arrested in possession of nine kilos of cocaine and a Glock pistol in October 2008. He jumped bail and moved to Holland.
By yesterday, many stories were in circulation regarding the fate of Mr McDonagh, gardai said, but they believe most of the accounts were fabrications probably put around by the rival gang.
One was that he was beaten and tortured and then buried alive. Gardai cannot even say if he is alive or dead and the case is still officially that of a missing person.
They also admit that the inter-relations between gangs across the city mean that in some cases gangs are killing people out of favours to other gangs who are, in return, expected to kill people with whom they have no dispute.
There have been several instances of this in recent years, and the gangs have gone as far as bringing gunmen up from Limerick to carry out murders in Dublin, and vice versa.