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'I believe my son was abducted and cut up just like tragic teen', says distraught dad

In the second part of our special investigation, Conor Feehan talks to the parents of a man who disappeared along with his partner in 2015


Grieving Nell and Joe Maughan with a picture of their sons Bobby and William. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Grieving Nell and Joe Maughan with a picture of their sons Bobby and William. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Grieving Nell and Joe Maughan with a picture of their sons Bobby and William. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The family of a man who is missing and presumed murdered along with his pregnant partner after crossing some of the Drogheda feud criminals, have said they have been told the couple were dismembered in the same way 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods was.

Today, Joe and Nell Maughan reveal that depraved and sickening violence is being used in the feud not only to torture their victims, but to terrorise their innocent families.

Joe and Nell's son William was 34 when he vanished with his 20-year-old partner Ana Varslavane in April 2015.

Ana was three months pregnant at the time.

They were about to move from their home in Gormanston, Co Meath, back to William's family in Tallaght when they disappeared.

William's mother Nell was on her way to collect them, having spoken to them by phone a short time earlier, but when she reached Gormanston there was no sign of them.

They have never been traced nearly five years later.


Gardai believe they were murdered because William was planning to leave the area and there was a fear among his killers that he knew too much about them.

In the days after the limbs and head of Keane Mulready-Woods were found, gardai searched the same compound where Willie and Ana had been living in the belief that Keane's body parts were delivered to a gang leader there as a threatening message.

"We heard that the same thing that happened to Keane Mulready-Woods happened to William and Ana," Joe Maughan told the Herald.

"I was told on two or three occasions that William was dismembered and Ana was the same. I was told that before Keane was killed.

"They're words you don't want to hear. The way I look at it is that young lad Keane was only a child. I feel sorry for his mother because I know how my wife hurts.

"We think William's murder was well planned in advance, but when they discovered that he was coming to Tallaght that day, they had to do it quick. William would have known things. William was coming home, so before he got out of there they killed him.

Nell added: "When I think about what happened to William, and it does go through my mind, and when I think about what happened to Keane, I think how can any mother go through what I'm going through.

"I always ask myself - what were William's last words? Because William knew I was on my way to collect him, and William was very close to me.

"For someone to do that to someone else - I don't know what kind of a mind they have or what way they are thinking, because to put any family through that, someone can't be normal."

Joe said: "What we hear what happened to them after they were killed is beyond normal. It is beyond humanity to do that to another person.

Nell added: "I know in my heart, and I've a strong belief in God, and maybe God has a reason for everything, and I do say when God is ready he'll give me Willie. All I want is to give him a Christian burial and bury Ana with her mother in Mount Jerome.

"Wherever they are, I hope the two of them are together. I do believe they have been dismembered."

Joe said: "I firmly believe it. Those cowards are capable of anything. They are like wolves, and I feel that is what was done to my son.

"I feel my son went through hell, and Ana, I think the two of them went through hell. We've lost a grandchild as well."

Dealing with the horror of what happened to Willie and Ana would be enough to destroy any family. But worse was to come for Joe and Nell.


When they started to speak out and look for information about Willie and Ana through the media, a further act of depraved and sickening horror was to be thrown upon them - someone tried to dig up the body of their other son, Bobby, who had died from meningitis eight years earlier at the age of 30.

That attack came in 2016 at Bohernabreena cemetery.

"A person from the council rang me and said, 'Joe, there's damage done to your son's grave', and I thought no, there couldn't be. But he said all the forensic gardai were down there," said Joe.

"When Bobby was buried, William put a radio on top the coffin, and you could see the top of the radio in the hole in the grave. That's how close they were to getting at the coffin."

Through tears, Nell said: "When I looked in the grave and seen the damage I thought, 'Bobby, you were in your resting place. Why did they do this?'

"We were able to say goodbye to Bobby before his machine was switched off. We never got to say goodbye to William. It's hard for anyone to lose a child."

Asked if they can see any end to the Drogheda feud, Nell asks have the gangs got more power than gardai?

"Who has the power? Hopefully with the help of God and the power of prayers, there will be an end to the violence in Drogheda," she added.