Body found at recycling plant ‘dismembered’

Gardaí say tests show man had screws in his skull arising from earlier neurosurgery

The body parts found at Thorntons Recycling centre in Ballyfermot belonged to a man aged between 25 and 45 years, tests show. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

The body parts found at Thorntons Recycling centre in Ballyfermot belonged to a man aged between 25 and 45 years, tests show. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 16:47

Gardaí believe that body parts discovered among refuse at a Dublin waste plant last month were those of a man aged between 25 and 45 years who had undergone neurosurgery.

Supt Paul Moran, of the Garda Press Office, said a search of about 1,000 tonnes of of domestic and industrial waste at Thornton’s Recycling plant in Ballyfermot had yielded more body parts.

However, almost two weeks after a lower leg and foot were first found by workers at the plant on July 31st, the man’s identity, ethnicity and cause of death have not yet been established. Part of an upper leg was found the following day.

The man may have died four or five days before the remains, which have undergone DNA testing, were initially discovered on the night of July 31st, Supt Moran added.

Details of the body parts found are not being released in order to “protect the integrity of the investigation” and as a sign of sensitivity to the victim’s family.

Speaking at a press conference at Ballyfermot Garda station, Supt Moran said gardaí were liasing with the Garda Missing Persons Bureau and Interpol as they attempt to identify the victim.

“The postmortem established that the victim had been dismembered,” he said, adding that he did not want to speculate as to whether or not the body had been dissected before it was dumped.

In the past, deceased homeless people have been found in mounds of rubbish at waste disposal plants after climbing into industrial bins and suffocating or being crushed when tipped into refuse trucks while asleep. However, in the small number of those cases in the Republic, the human remains have been intact and fully clothed.

Asked where the waste in which the remains were discovered had origniated, Supt Moran said that trying to establish this was part of the investigation but was a “slow and painstaking process”.

He said the man, who was likely between 5ft 8in and 6ft in height, had “neurosurgical screws” present on either side of his skull. It was likely the victim had required such treatment as a result of serious head trauma caused by an event such as a serious car crash or assault, he said.

The screws are being examined for marks that might identify when or where the surgery was carried out and gardaí have appealed to neurological consultants, doctors or carers who might have treated the man to come forward with information.

Asked if it would be possible to identify the man from the remains found, Supt Moran replied: “There are a lot of tests yet to be carried out and inquiries and a full investigation team has been assigned to this.”

As many as 300 lines of enquiry are being pursued and that more than 250 statements have been taken, Supt Moran said. Gardaí have completed their search at the recycling plant and are yet to examine any other locations.

Anyone with information about the matter or who is concerned about the welfare of a male relative or friend fitting the description is asked to contact Ballyfermot Garda station on (01) 6667200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.