Friday 6 December 2019

Gardai search for new suspect after Reece murdered 'due to long-running dispute'

Gardai on trail of new murder suspect after releasing boy (14)

Reece Cullen and girlfriend Sophie Evans(17)
Reece Cullen and girlfriend Sophie Evans(17)
Victim: Reece Cullen (16) was stabbed in the heart
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Gardai investigating the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Reece Cullen hope to speak to at least one other teenager after a boy, believed to be a suspect, was released from custody.

The 14-year-year old was released without charge just before midnight on Friday. He was arrested at Tallaght Garda Station early on Friday morning after presenting himself to detectives. A file is being prepared for the DPP and the investigation will now turn to locating the murder weapon.

Sophie Evans (17), girlfriend of Reece Cullen who was stabbed to death
Sophie Evans (17), girlfriend of Reece Cullen who was stabbed to death
Sophie Evans (17), girlfriend of Reece Cullen who was stabbed to death

Detectives also wish to speak to at least one other teenager they believe was present when Reece was set upon on Thursday afternoon at a house he was staying in.

They believe the killing came about as part of a long- running dispute between two groups of teenagers.

Gardai have carried out door-to-door inquiries on the Kilclare Crescent estate in Jobstown, Co Dublin, where the stabbing took place.

Technical officers were still working at the scene yesterday. The house remains sealed off, but restrictions put in place locally to monitor the movements of people in and out of the area have since been lifted.

Reece Cullen
Reece Cullen

Reece was on the phone to his 17-year-old girlfriend Sophie Evans when he was stabbed. She said she heard him scream before the call ended. His final words were: "My heart, my heart."

She said she didn't hear an argument and that Reece was leaving the house and planning to meet up with her when he was attacked.

"He didn't know himself what had happened," she said.

"He was stabbed and I just heard him screaming. Then the phone went off. That's when he was struck.

"He was just saying he was walking out the door to come around. He said: 'I'm on my way down to you, baby'.

"Then I heard him screaming saying: 'My heart, my heart'. Then that was it."

Reece was discovered by a neighbour bleeding to death at the foot of a staircase.

He was rushed to Tallaght Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later. Gardai confirmed he died of a single stab wound to the heart.

His funeral arrangements have yet to be confirmed because his body has not yet been returned to his family.

Reece's mother Annmarie Cullen died in September last year. "He was slowly picking himself back up," said Sophie.

Reece's father Ken O'Flanagan told the Irish Daily Star yesterday that his son was no angel but had fallen in with a "bad crowd".

"There are packs of feral young lads living in Jobstown who think they are all Pablo Escobar or big-time gangsters. In reality, they are all young kids," he said.

"I tried my best to steer him away from that lifestyle, and I think he was pulling himself out - slowly but surely. Never did I think it would end up like this."

Sunday Independent

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