| 15.9°C Dublin

Dad stabbed, burned and body dumped in ditch over drug debt

A FATHER-of-four was stabbed to death over a drug debt before his body was burned and dumped in a ditch.

The victim, named locally as Adil Essalhi, is believed to have been lured to a meeting with a west Dublin criminal gang and then stabbed to death.

The dead man, in his late 20s, was missing since last Thursday. His body was found yesterday at fields near Bellgree Avenue, Tyrrelstown, west Dublin. Dublin-born Essalhi, who has Pakistani and Libyan parents, had lived at addresses in Clonshaugh and Drumcondra.

He was known to garda and had faced over 70 court charges.

Essalhi was jailed for a year over an incident in Kilbarrack in July 2008 when he threatened to "bleedin' kill" a man who he believed sexually assaulted his friend. He was drunk and armed with a dumbbell when he made the threat.

According to reports, a tip-off was passed onto gardai by a west Dublin criminal -- in custody in relation to a different crime - which led to the grim find of Essalhi's body yesterday.

Gardai are today awaiting the results of the post-mortem exam, which is expected to confirm that the victim was stabbed. After a planned search, the body of the victim was found partly submerged in a ditch alongside GAA playing fields.

The discovery was made at 3.15pm yesterday after members of the divisional search team had combed the area for a number of hours. He is believed to have been murdered elsewhere before his body was moved to the green area in Tyrrelstown.

Although the body was discovered in water, no attempt was made to conceal the body but gardai suspect that the killers had tried unsuccessfully to burn the remains.

The searches were launched after gardai received intelligence that Essalhi was beaten up by a group of men in a house.

A row over a drug debt is being investigated as a possible motive for the killing, the Herald understands.

The relatives of the victims had been informed in recent days that the gardai had received information that there loved one may have been murdered. They have been told of their discovery but have not been able to identify the body.

A post-mortem examination is not likely until this afternoon at the earliest and the scene is still cordoned off to allow officers from the Garda Technical Bureau to carry out their forensic examinations.


Essalhi had lived at a number of addresses in the past few years including Clondalkin in west Dublin. The discovery of Essalhi's body yesterday means that he is the fifth murder victim of 2011.

Gardai appealed for anyone, who might have spotted unusual or suspicious activity in the area to contact them at (01) 6667000, or on the Garda Confidential phone line at (1800) 666111.