One of Ireland's most ruthless gangs are the chief suspects for digging up the grave of a relative of a man they are believed to have murdered.
The grave of Michael Maughan - whose brother William and girlfriend Anna are believed to have been killed - was dug up at Bohernabreena Cemetery in Tallaght, Dublin.
The sinister incident occurred just a day after Michael's father Joe appealed for information to help find the remains of his son, who gardai believe was murdered.
William 'Willie' Maughan (34) and his Latvian girlfriend Anna Varslavane (21) were last seen in April 2015 in Meath. The couple have not been seen since. .
Serious concerns have now been raised after the grave of William's younger brother was dug up on Wednesday night.
Father-of-four Michael (30) passed away from meningitis in April 2008. It is believed three men entered the Dublin cemetery some time after 2am on Thursday morning and started digging up Mr Maughan's grave.
Sources say it took the culprits four hours to dig it up. However, Mr Maughan's remains were not removed.
Shocked dad Joe - who appealed in Wednesday's Herald for the courts to refuse an impending bail application by the man gardai believe killed William - described the thugs as "the lowest scum on earth".
"We know the people that killed William did this... they are cowards," he told the Herald last night at the side of his son's grave.
"What kind of people are out there? What happened here is the worst of the worst, but that won't stop me fighting for justice for my son. They can shoot me - I won't hold back.
"Me and my family will go to our graves, but we will get justice in the end."
Joe was cutting the lawn of the local football pitch yesterday morning when he received the horrific news about the incident.
"I'm hoping the judges and the justice system now realise what we are dealing with and reject a bail application by the main suspect in my son's murder," he added.
"How low can you get? The gardai will catch the people who did this."
Michael's young children were distraught as they visited the graveside yesterday. His heartbroken mother Helen was also distressed, crying as she lay beside her son's open grave.
Gardai are carrying out forensics on a number of items which were left behind at the scene, and they believe this vital evidence will help lead to the thugs responsible.
Michael's brother William and girlfriend Anna are believed to have been murdered because they had information about a gangland murder.
They were last seen alive in the Gormanston area on April 14 last year. Gardai believe the man who ordered their deaths is a violent gang boss who operates in north county Dublin, Meath and Louth.
The criminal - who cannot be named for legal reasons - is also one of the chief suspects in the murder of Benny Whitehouse, and was arrested in connection with that murder, which occurred on Clonard Street, Balbriggan, on September 25, 2014.