Kelly murder inquiry continues
Gardaí investigating the shooting dead of veteran gangland figure Eamon Kelly are hopeful forensic tests on the getaway vehicle used by the killers will link a chief suspect to the crime.
A man arrested in the minutes after Kelly’s murder outside his home in Killester, north Dublin, yesterday afternoon was still being questioned today.
While he was arrested on foot on the same street the getaway vehicle was abandoned, Garda sources said he was a distance away from the car when detained and his proximity to the vehicle will not be enough to charge him directly in relation to the murder.
However, he is being questioned about illegal possession of a firearm and membership of an illegal organisation, with a criminal charge on the latter now seen as most likely before his period of detention expires tomorrow.
The man is in his early 30s and is a member of the Real IRA. He has served prison sentences following a number of serious convictions related to his association with the dissident organisation.
The gun used to kill Kelly has still not been recovered and gardaí are now working on the theory that the man under arrest was the getaway driver and not the person who pulled the trigger.
They believe the gunman had escaped the scene on Stiles Court in Clontarf just before a patrol car arrived and uniformed gardaí arrested the suspect who is now in custody.
Detectives have not ruled out the possibility that the gunman took the murder weapon with him after getting out of the getaway car. They also believe the gun may have been discarded in the general location of the killing on Furry Park Road or as the killer and his driver sped down Howth Road before turning in the residential area at Stiles Court.
The getaway car had been set on fire at that location and the suspect under arrest was walking off as gardaí arrived.
However, the vehicle was only partially burned and gardaí are hopeful it will yield forensic evidence that will link the man in custody to the crime and also offer other clues that may lead to the arrest of his accomplice.
The car had not been reported stolen and gardaí now believe it was a so-called “company car”, which had failed the NCT and had traded hands for cash on the black market. Any previous legitimate owners are now being traced in an effort to establish its ownership history to as recently as possible.
Garda search teams today combed the murder scene and the area where the getaway vehicle was found in the hope of finding the murder weapon.
Door to door inquiries were also conducted, with gardaí looking for any witnesses who may have seen the getaway car – a black Lexus 96 D 27994.
They believe the killers were waiting outside Kelly’s home on Furry Park Road before he arrived at the property on foot just after 4pm and was gunned down. Gardaí want to speak to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area between 2pm and 4.30pm.
The investigating team has also appealed for anyone who was in the Stiles Court area around the time the getaway car was abandoned, and efforts made to set it on fire, to come forward. The cul de sac is to the rear of Clontarf Cricket and Rugby Club.