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Murdered rapist Nolan's torso is found buried in Dublin park


Convicted rapist James Nolan

Convicted rapist James Nolan

Gardai in Tolka Valley Park, the scene of the grim discovery

Gardai in Tolka Valley Park, the scene of the grim discovery


Convicted rapist James Nolan

The torso of a convicted rapist, who was murdered almost seven years ago, has been found by gardai searching in a north Dublin park.

The grim discovery of the remains of James Nolan was made at an embankment in Tolka Valley Park in Finglas shortly before 2pm yesterday.

The shocking case of Nolan's murder first came to public prominence when his arm washed up on Dollymount Strand in 2011.

Gardai have been searching at the Finglas location since the morning of April 1 and will continue looking for more of the murdered rapist's remains.

Yesterday's discovery was made by officers who were working with machinery and specially trained dogs.

"The torso was reasonably well buried in the embankment but not buried that deeply," a senior source said last night.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy is due to carry out a post-mortem on the remains this morning.

The Herald first revealed in December that gardai had planned to carry out a dig in the north Dublin park because of details left in a 21-page suicide letter written by Nolan's killer and sent to family members.

Sources say that yesterday's discovery was made at almost exactly the same location described in the lengthy letter.

The letter states that Nolan was strangled by his killer in Glasnevin Cemetery.

His body was then taken to an address in north Dublin and cut into pieces.

The killer then disposed of most of Nolan's body parts in Co Monaghan and at Tolka Valley Park.

Gardai have been involved in a detailed search of the park for more than a week.

Specialist equipment and a cadaver dog are being used to support the search.

It is understood that Nolan's severed arm, which was found washed up at Dollymount Strand, had been originally thrown into the Tolka River and then washed out to sea.

Detectives are working on the theory that, after being strangled to death by the man - who was known to him - his body was dismembered, he was decapitated and his fingers were even cut off.

The inquest into Nolan's death, which was held in February 2015, heard that his arm was found by a man walking his dog on February 8, 2011.

It heard from Dr Cassidy, who said that Nolan's arm was "cleanly" severed post-death using a very sharp knife, and tattoos had been cut from the skin.

Nolan was last seen collecting methadone from the Wellmount Clinic in Finglas on November 30, 2010.


He had been missing since shortly after being released from Portlaoise Prison, having served a three-year sentence for burglary in Booterstown, south Dublin, in 2005.

In 1986 he was jailed for 14 years after he was convicted of rape and false imprisonment.

The 1986 rape attack is considered one of the most savage to have ever happened in Ireland.

The victim was brutally attacked in front of her partner.

Sources say that the rape incident is being probed as a possible motive for Nolan's gruesome murder, even though his suspected killer was not present on the night.

However, other motives have also been probed, including a cash row Nolan was involved in.