Friday 23 February 2018

Recalling a fine detective

Sir -- In Jim Cusack's article (Sunday Independent, May 9, 2010) on a new novel by Gerry O'Carroll, a former colleague, based on the investigation into the murder of Patricia Furlong at the Fraughan Festival in Glencullen, Co Dublin, in July 1982, it is implied that the arrest of Vinnie Connell was due to the Murder Squad's work.

Investigations carried out by the HQ team were due to the initial breakthrough made by the late Det Sgt Robert F Greene -- Bob to his friends. I was among the first gardai to arrive at the murder scene and, on medical confirmation as to the likely cause of death, a murder inquiry was started. We issued a public appeal for festival patrons to come to Stepaside station to assist in the investigation. We were unprepared for the hundreds who patiently queued to complete a questionnaire: name, address, age, who did you go with to and from the festival, fingerprints and photograph.

People were most co-operative except one, Vinnie Connell, who was interviewed by Det Sgt Greene. He objected to the standard questionnaire and stormed off to a local pub. As his immediate superior, Sgt Greene told me what had just happened and we followed Connell to the pub where we had a further conversation but Connell would not agree to complete the list of questions. His general demeanour raised suspicions and when we left, the always perceptive Bob said to me: "That's our man."

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