Wednesday 13 December 2017

Finding head crucial to determining how father of one died

Members of the Garda sub aqua unit at the Grand Canal in Fonthill, Dublin. Photo: PA
Members of the Garda sub aqua unit at the Grand Canal in Fonthill, Dublin. Photo: PA
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Most of the missing parts of the body of murder victim Kenneth O'Brien have now been recovered after a grim eight days for Garda divers trawling the waters of two canals.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis will now spend much of today trying to establish how Mr O'Brien was murdered.

Dr Curtis has already carried out a post mortem examination at Naas General Hospital on the victim's torso, which was found wrapped in heavy plastic in a suitcase on the bank of the Grand Canal in Ardclough, north Kildare, on the afternoon of Saturday, January 16.

There were no marks on the torso to indicate whether he was shot, stabbed or beaten to death. Dr Curtis will now carry out further tests on the parts recovered on Sunday and yesterday. He has had to await the completion of forensic inquiries on the bags containing the parts before they could be opened.

For the past week, gardaí had been hoping for a breakthrough in the searches. They also continued to seek the location of the scene where Mr O'Brien was murdered, and the vehicle used to drive him to his death. And again it was the huge public co-operation and response to the Garda appeals that brought about the results.

The torso was discovered by two walkers along the canal at Ardclough at 3.30pm last Saturday week, and other walkers were able to put the suitcase there six hours earlier, narrowing further the gap since he was last known to be alive.

Mr O'Brien (33) had told his partner on the Thursday night that he was going "down the country" for work the following day. His partner had already left their home at Lealand Road in Clondalkin, west Dublin, in the family car when he walked out of the house on Friday morning.

Gardaí believe it is likely he met his killers by arrangement but have not yet established whether he was collected near his house or used public transport.

Another member of the public alerted gardaí on Sunday when a bag was spotted in the canal near the bridge in the centre of the village. It contained Mr O'Brien's limbs.

Further bags were found yesterday as Garda divers and the dog unit combed the same stretch of the canal at Sallins. Officers said the discovery of the head was now crucial in determining how Mr O'Brien had died.

Meanwhile, a bag containing equipment, which may been used in dismembering the body, was discovered in the Royal Canal at Carton, Maynooth.

Gardaí are hoping fingerprints taken from the equipment and the bags will provide vital clues to the identity of his killers.

The motive for the grisly murder has not yet been determined. Gardaí said they were examining a series of options, including that Mr O'Brien had become involved, possibly in a financial deal, with a west Dublin gangland mob since his return from Australia last month and had a row with them over money.

Irish Independent

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