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Now 'cold case' team to probe brutal stab murder of Niall (19)

HE was tortured, mutilated, killed and buried in a shallow grave.

Now, eight years on, the garda 'cold case' unit will re-examine the brutal murder of Dublin man Niall Hanlon.

The 19-year-old was murdered in 2001, and was officially missing for six months before his remains were discovered in the grounds of St Kevin's College, Sundrive Road.

Hanlon was found to have multiple stab wounds and his body had been mutilated. Sickeningly, there were several severe wounds to his groin.



Severed

The chief suspect in the murder was a leading Dublin drug dealer who has been jailed repeatedly for armed robbery.

Hanlon, from Downpatrick Road in Crumlin, was stabbed more than 33 times and had part of his anatomy severed, according to senior gardai.

His death is thought to have been inspired by a failed attempt to steal €310,000 from the killer. Hanlon was alleged to have set up a heroin deal that would provide the opportunity for the robbery.

Two notorious drug dealers from Blanchardstown were given a contract to carry out the robbery and kill the other dealer. These men, in turn, hired two heroin addicts to perform the job.

In a macabre twist, they attacked the wrong person, according to sources. The intended target of the botched hit soon discovered he had been set up, and he exacted revenge on Hanlon.

The same killer is also believed to have been responsible for the unrelated murder of David McGreevey (23), shot dead at his home in Belgard Heights, Tallaght on February 1, 2002.

News of the reopening of one of the most brutal murders of the last decade comes in the same week as a landmark victory for the garda 'cold case' team. It had its first murder conviction this week after Vera McGrath (61) was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of her husband, Brian, in Co Westmeath 23 years ago.

Her co-accused, Colin Pinder, (47) was cleared of murder but admitted manslaughter.



Progress

Detective Superintendent Christy Mangan, who led the investigation into the murder of Brian McGrath, said this week they had made "significant progress" on a number of the cases.

The Garda 'cold case' team, which is also known as the Garda Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT), is tasked with re-examining unsolved homicides.

The unit was established in August 2007 and operates from the offices of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Harcourt Square, Dublin 2.

hnews@herald.ie


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