Saturday 21 April 2018

Killers cleaned murder scene with power hose

Eoin O'Connor (L) and Anthony Keegan
Eoin O'Connor (L) and Anthony Keegan
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

The rented lakeside cottage where two men were murdered was cleaned with a power-hose to hide evidence, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Gardai have issued an alert through Interpol for three foreign nationals they wish to question about the murders of Eoin O'Connor, 32, and Anthony Keegan, 32, whose remains were discovered last Monday.

The two Dubliners disappeared after travelling to Cavan on April 22.

Gardai believe the two men visited Sheelin Cottage, which was innocently let to the foreign nationals by local businessman Declan McCabe, a brother of Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

It is believed that a boat rented along with the house was used to carry the two bodies to Inchicup island.

Gardai are trying to establish when the cottage was last occupied.

Both the house and boat were still being forensically examined yesterday.

The bodies were discovered by an angler who was fishing from the island and detected a bad smell coming from undergrowth. Gardai were called and found the decomposing bodies under a tarpaulin which had been covered by broken branches. Both victims had been shot dead.

Gardai believe O'Connor and Keegan first visited a house in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, on the evening they disappeared, and after speaking to a man there, travelled on to the cottage by the lake near the village of Kilnaleck.

It is believed both were shot dead after attempting to recover a drug debt, said to be €15,000. Their killers then drove Keegan and O'Connor's Ford Focus car to Lough Owel outside Mullingar in Westmeath in order to throw gardai off the scent as they fled the country.

However, the last recorded signal from a phone owned by one of the murdered men was last detected in Kilnaleck near the lake at 9pm on the night they disappeared. Gardai searched the area but found nothing. It was only last week that gardai determined Keegan and O'Connor had visited the cottage.

After examining the cottage they discovered that blood had been cleaned with a power-hose in an attempt to clean up the scene.

The day after the two disappeared, an anonymous call was made to Mountjoy garda station in Dublin saying the two had been shot and dumped in a field, but no location was given. Gardai believe this call was made by an associate in Dublin who suspected they had been murdered.

Keegan had a criminal record for carrying out armed robberies. Gardai believe the victims were minor figures working as debt collectors for a major drugs gang based in northwest Dublin.

The men's families reported them missing to gardai in Dublin the day after they headed to Cavan. The same day another anonymous call was made to Monaghan garda station saying that Mr O'Connor's body had been dumped in a field near Kilnaleck.

Gardai have established O'Connor and Keegan had made trips to the same area in the months before their deaths to collect debts.

They have questioned a man who said he had been visited by O'Connor and Keegan the day before they disappeared. He said they had left him and travelled back to Dublin, which gardai were able to confirm.

Last week, gardai asked the angling and boating community on Lough Sheelin or anyone who may have been on the water between April 22 and May 26 to call Kells garda station on 046 9280820, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111 or any station.

Sunday Independent

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