Rapist disappeared days after release from prison
Convicted rapist James Nolan, whose arm was found on Dollymount Strand in Dublin last month, stopped using his mobile phone a couple of days after his release from the Midlands prison last November.
Nolan (46) was set free on November 22 after serving part of a three-year sentence for a burglary and a check of his phone records showed that it had been inactive since the middle of that week.
Garda inquiries indicate that Nolan returned to his native Finglas after his release but officers are now looking for anybody who had been in contact with him around that time.
Investigators are working on the basis that Nolan was killed some time that week and his body dismembered.
A post-mortem examination on the arm found on the beach on February 8 confirmed that it had been severed from the shoulder and the hand cut off.
There was also no trace of a tattoo, which Interpol records showed Nolan had in the past.
Gardai have also checked out drug treatment centres and contacted probation officers in an effort to pinpoint Nolan's last known movements.
A report from the probation service given to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when Nolan was sentenced for the burglary pointed out that he had shown a high risk of re-offending.
Nolan was due back before the court last week for breaching a post-release condition.
When Nolan failed to turn up for the hearing Judge Yvonne Murphy put the matter back to May to allow gardai establish his whereabouts. Half of his three-year sentence had been suspended and he faced serving the remainder of the sentence.
Gardai are now trying to establish whether the severed arm had been thrown into the sea and then washed ashore or had been buried in sand dunes.
After the arm was found, gardai sought international co-operation from other police forces through the Interpol network and with the assistance of British police, a DNA match was made recently.
The match could not be made here as a DNA database has not yet been established in the jurisdiction despite government promises over more than a decade.
A bill for setting up a database was published in January last year but since then there have been discussions over special safeguards for the retention of DNA.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said yesterday he understood that the legislation was currently at an advanced stage of preparation.
Nolan, from Fairlawn Road, Finglas, was also jailed for 14 years when he was convicted of the rape and false imprisonment of a woman in 1986.