Search for body parts of murder victim concludes

Gardaí had begun third day of searches in Co Meath for remains of Christopher Gaffney

Members of the Garda water unit search for the dismembered remains of Christopher Gaffney in Clonee, Co Meath, yesterday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Members of the Garda water unit search for the dismembered remains of Christopher Gaffney in Clonee, Co Meath, yesterday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


Gardaí have concluded their search of a field in Co Meath where the decomposed partial remains of a gangland criminal were found by a hunter’s dog.

The search team had yet to find a number of limbs and the head from the remains of Dubliner Christopher Gaffney.

The rest of the body had been stuffed into bags that were thrown, probably from a nearby bridge, into a small river running along the border of Dublin and Meath in an area near Clonee known as The Mayne.

Originally from Whitestown, Blanchardstown, west Dublin, the 37-year-old heroin dealer had been missing for about two months, though he had only been reported missing by his sister some four weeks ago.

It is believed he was killed in Blanchardstown immediately when he went missing and his body dismembered and dumped.

While his arm was likely dragged from the stream by a wild animal to the spot where it was found, a postmortem has confirmed the body was cut up rather than ripped by animals.

The dead man was a significant drug dealer and in 2001 was jailed for five years after a court heard he made around €4,600 per week supplying street dealers in the O’Connell Street area of Dublin. He would cycle form his base in East Wall and distribute the drugs. When his house was raided he was found trying to flush heroin down the toilet. Some €30,000 in cash was also discovered.

His trial at the time was told he came from a dysfunctional background in which he and his siblings often had to live in hostels with their mother due to his alcoholic father’s violence.

Fragments of bullets
Gaffney was shot while in his early 20s and fragments of bullets remained in his body. He had grown into a major player in the drugs trade in recent years. He had convictions for possession of firearms and other drugs charges. He was first jailed in St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders for burglary while in his mid-teens.

Gaffney was a chief suspect for assisting in a serious offence in Dublin in recent years. Details of that case cannot be disclosed for legal reasons. An attempt was made on the life of another man currently awaiting trial in relation to that crime. Gardaí are now examining if the gang behind the attempt to kill that man also targeted Gaffney as a way of exacting revenge on him for his involvement in the serious offence some years back.

However, Garda sources said Gaffney was heavily involved in organised crime and there may be a drugs link to his killing. “He had been very heavily involved in drug dealing in Blanchardstown and across mainly west Dublin so that will all have to be looked at,” said one source.

The discovery of the first body part was made at around 4.30pm last Friday when a hunter’s dog found the badly decomposed arm and shoulder on open ground at The Mayne.

However, the light faded too quickly to allow for a thorough search, though the arm was removed for examination on Friday evening. Prints were taken from the fingers which matched with prints for Gaffney on the Garda’s computer database. A DNA sample confirmed the identity.

Garda divers
From early on Saturday a Garda team with dogs and Garda divers searched the land where the arm was found and the nearby stream. By lunchtime they had located three supermarket bags in the stream containing human remains.

The body parts were removed and a postmortem carried out by deputy State pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, after which the Garda inquiry was upgraded to murder.