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Hunt for killer crash criminals out on bail

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Car crash near Ferns in Wexford in which a man was killed

Car crash near Ferns in Wexford in which a man was killed

Car crash near Ferns in Wexford in which a man was killed

Gardai were last night hunting for two criminal cousins out on bail who are wanted for killing an 81-year-old pensioner in a horrific hit-and-run.

 

The Co Wicklow men are the subject of a massive manhunt after the stolen vehicle in which they were travelling smashed into a car driven by Jim Brennan.

Mr Brennan died in the crash near Ferns, Co Wexford, on Monday night.

The female passenger in his Toyota Corolla suffered a broken pelvis and horrific eye injuries.

She was named locally last night as Bernadette Weafer, who is in her 50s, and was still being treated at Wexford General Hospital.

It is understood that Mr Brennan and Ms Weafer had been returning from a bingo night when the stolen Volvo car ploughed into the side of their vehicle.

A neighbour of Mr Brennan’s from when he lived in Castledockrell said he was a “nice, easy-going man” who was well-liked by those who knew him.

“His sister still lives here in Castledockrell. I was in the house this evening and they’re shocked by the tragic incident,” said the neighbour.

Mr Brennan’s brother Martin died last June. He is survived by his sisters Sarah McManus and Maryanne McArdle.

After the crash the suspects fled the area, running through fields before they entered a farmyard and stole a Red Volkswagen Passat. This car was recovered in a gateway at Monageer, around 6km from the crash site, by gardai at lunchtime yesterday.

Gardai are investigating whether a third vehicle, a BMW, was also taken by the pair.

That car, which was stolen from a farmer around a kilometre from where the Passat was found, had still not been located last night.

The Herald has learned that gardai identified the suspects after they were caught on CCTV at the Apple Green service station in Arklow, Co Wicklow, shortly before 10pm, when they drove off after failing to pay for fuel.

This happened only minutes after they stole a Volvo S60 from the Church Gate estate in Wicklow town.

In the course of that incident, they broke into a house and stole car keys before driving off in the Volvo.

It also emerged last night that the thugs’ crime spree began when they had been “booted off” a train for abusive behaviour.

It is understood that the reckless and tragic events of Monday night happened within the space of less than two hours.

Both cousins, who are from the Wicklow town area, are very well known to gardai and are suspected of being members of one of the organised Traveller burglary gangs who have been terrorising the country.

Gardai believe they were travelling to Co Wexford to take part in this type of crime when the collision happened.

The older suspect, who is in his 20s, has a number of serious convictions both here and in England and is currently on bail in relation to the savage assault of an innocent couple.

His cousin, who is in his late teens, has convictions for minor offences.

Family members and friends of Mr Brennan and Ms Weafer, who lived in the Cherry Orchard area of Enniscorthy, were comforting each other last night.

Mr Brennan is originally from Kiltealy, while Ms Weafer is from nearby Bunclody.

hnews@herald.ie


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