A jailed gang boss who ordered the murders of a couple who disappeared two years ago has boasted that their bodies will never be found.
The shocking revelation came after gardai finished a dig for the remains of Willie Maughan and his pregnant girlfriend Ana Varslavane.
The search, near Monasterboice, Co Louth, ended late on Saturday night without any new evidence coming to light.
As Mr Maughan's heartbroken father spoke of his devastation that the searches had yielded no clues, the Herald learnt that the gangster has been saying the couple will never be found.
"He was telling his prison pals over the weekend that the cops will never find those bodies," a source said last night.
"He was actually laughing at them for searching where they were. He was saying it was a complete waste of time and he's confident he's got away with the double murder."
Underworld sources are adamant the couple were not buried after being shot dead in April 2015.
It has been said their bodies were "totally cremated" in a massive bonfire in Co Meath just hours after they were murdered.
The Herald previously revealed that the gang boss taunted and laughed at gardai as they searched for the missing couple in Co Meath in the summer of 2015.
Before gardai carried out Saturday's unsuccessful searches in Co Louth, officers raided the property where the gangster lived before he was locked up in Wheatfield Prison for separate offences earlier this year.
On Wednesday morning a team of detectives spent time at the property questioning members of the jailed mobster's family. No arrests were made.
It is understood the search was carried out by Ashbourne gardai who were acting on new information after a cold case review of the murders.
Mr Maughan (34) and his 21-year-old Latvian girlfriend are believed to have been abducted and murdered by the gang after they went missing on April 14, 2015, in Gormanston, Co Meath.
The couple were planning on moving back to the Maughan family home in Tallaght on the day they went missing.
Speaking to the Herald last night, the missing man's father, Joe Maughan, said he was disappointed that the search did not find any trace of his son and his girlfriend.
"The scumbag who is responsible is in jail and he is well-known," he said.
"All I want to say is that I and my family are very disappointed tonight that the search did not find anything.
"Our hopes were up during the weekend, but now we're disappointed again."
The jailed gangster was previously arrested in relation to the murder of Benny Whitehouse.
Mr Whitehouse was shot dead in Clonard Street, Balbriggan, on September 25, 2014, in front of his partner as part of a separate feud.
The same gang is being investigated for a pipe-bomb attack at the home of Willie Maughan's sister in Rathfarnham in October 2015.
The mob are suspects for a sickening incident last August when the grave of Willie Maughan's brother was dug up at Bohernabreena Cemetery in Tallaght.
The sinister incident came only a day after the family appealed for information to help find the remains of Mr Maughan and his girlfriend.
It is understood that the dig for the remains of the missing couple was ordered after a review of the original investigation carried out in the aftermath of their disappearance.