Fresh appeal over garda's murder
Supt Gerard Curley and Supt Dave Taylor at a press briefing in Dublin with a car seat like the one linked to the getaway car used by the killers of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times
Gardaí are hopeful that a distinctive hammer found at the scene of the murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe and a child’s seat that was in the getaway car may prompt people with vital information to come forward.
Exact replicas of the two items were put on display at a Garda press conference in Dublin this afternoon as part of the latest appeal for the public’s assistance in solving the murder one month ago.
The Crimestoppers organisation today offered a reward, of an unspecified amount but believed to be between €10,000 and €20,000, for anyone with information that helps solve the case. That sum would be added to a reward of €50,000 already pledged by the Irish League of Credit Unions.
Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny, who is in charge of the northern region where the murder occurred, said while one person fired the fatal shot there were numerous people who could aid the murder inquiry.
“There are persons out there who have knowledge of Adrian’s murder and I would ask them to reflect on the impact that Adrian’s death has had on the family, the Garda Siochana and the community where he lived and served,” he said at today’s briefing in Harcourt Street. “I would appeal to anybody who has information about the murder to contact us please.”
Supt Gerry Curley of Dundalk Garda station, where the investigation is headquartered and where the dead man was based, said while the hammer and the seat are mass-produced and widely available, someone may be missing the hammer or may have seen the seat.
Gardai believe the hammer found during a Garda search of the crime scene at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth, was used by the five-strong gang that murdered the 41-year-old father-of-two during a botched robbery.
It is described as a precision mallet-type hammer. It has a red and black handle and a soft black section to one half of the head. The other half of the head is usually a see-through yellow glass-type section. However, on the hammer found at the scene, that section of yellow glass is missing but the pin that holds it in place protrudes from the head.
The hammer is used in the motor trade, especially by panel beaters.
The car seat also at the centre of today’s appeal was in the graphite blue VW Passat 08 D car used by the gang when it was stolen during a burglary in Clogherhead between 11.30pm on Tuesday, January 22nd and 4.30am on Wednesday, January 23rd.
The vehicle was found burnt out at around 10.30pm on Friday, January 25th, just one hour after Det Garda Donohoe was shot dead. The vehicle was found on fire north of the border at Cumsons Road, Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh.
The baby seat in the car when it was stolen is a Cosatto brand seat with an luminous green trim, a black or grey seat and cream inset with ‘little monster’ designs throughout.
Gardaí believe if they can link any identifiable person to that seat from the time the car was stolen, it would aid that portion of the investigation focused on establishing who stole the vehicle and who they were working with or sold it to.
Gardaí have urged anyone who may have seen the seat, may have been asked to buy it, or was offered it as a gift to contact Crimestoppers or gardaí in Dundalk without the need to leave their name or contact details.
Det Garda Donohoe was shot in the head as he and his partner were about to provide an armed escort for the movement of money from the Lordship Credit Union into a bank safe in nearby Dundalk.
Gardaí believe a gang of men in their 20s, from Louth and Armagh were behind the botched robbery and murder. They believe the getaway vehicle may have been driven by the girlfriend of the suspected shooter, who is from Co Armagh.