Van allegedly used by Lunney abductors was sold to car dealer for €400, court hears

Witness says he bought Renault Kangoo from man he knew only as ‘David’

Kevin Lunney has told the court he was bundled into the boot of a car near his home and driven to a container where he was threatened and told to resign as a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings. File photograph: BBC Spotlight

Kevin Lunney has told the court he was bundled into the boot of a car near his home and driven to a container where he was threatened and told to resign as a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings. File photograph: BBC Spotlight

 

A car dealer paid €400 for a Renault Kangoo van which was seized later the same day by gardaí investigating the abduction of businessman Kevin Lunney, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Witness James Maguire said he bought the van from a man he knew only as “David”. The prosecution alleged the van was used by three of Mr Lunney’s attackers to travel to and from Cavan.

Opening the trial back in May prosecution counsel Sean Guerin SC said forensic examiners discovered blood with DNA matching Mr Lunney’s on a door of the Kangoo and DNA matching one of the accused on the back of the driver’s seat.

A 40-year-old man known as YZ, Alan O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, Darren Redmond (27), from Caledon Road, East Wall, Dublin 3, and Luke O’Reilly (67), with an address at Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan, have all pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment and intentionally causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17th, 2019.

Mr Maguire told Mr Guerin that he lives in Drogheda, Co Louth, where he buys and sells cars, vans, pony traps and other vehicles. On October 24th, 2019, a garda asked him about a Renault van with a UK registration ending in PXU that he had bought the previous day.

He said a man named David from Dublin had arranged with him over the phone to buy the van for €400 at a car test centre on the Duleek Road near Drogheda. Mr Maguire said he met “a young fella” at the test centre on the evening of October 23rd and handed over €400 in exchange for the van.

Mr Maguire left the van at the test centre to be tested and did not get inside it. He said he didn’t know the “young fella” and didn’t have much conversation with him. He only knew the man he spoke to on the phone as “David” and didn’t have contact details for him.

Brian Teeling told Garret Baker BL, for the prosecution, that gardaí asked him to drive a vehicle-recovery lorry to the Duleek Road test centre on October 23rd, 2019. Mr Teeling took the Kangoo to Santry Garda station. Gregory Rice said he collected the Kangoo from Santry on December 12th, 2019, and brought it to Ted Brennan’s yard in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan. He later transported it again but by then it had been damaged in a fire.

CCTV footage

The trial also heard from three policing analysts who told Mr Guerin that they compared CCTV footage of a Kangoo van on the day Mr Lunney was abducted with the movements of mobile phones allegedly belonging to two of the accused men.

Analyst Sarah Skedd told Mr Guerin that she compiled charts and maps comparing CCTV showing a Kangoo travelling from Dublin to Cavan and back again on September 17th, 2019, to the movement of phones the prosecution has attributed to YZ and Darren Redmond.

The court has also heard there was extensive contact between YZ and Cyril McGuinness, now deceased, who the prosecution says organised the offences.

Constable Timothy Carlton of the Police Service of Northern Ireland told Mr Guerin that he examined a burnt-out BMW 5-series in December 2019. He found the vehicle identification number and was able to show that the car originally had a registration number ending in 0908.

Mr Lunney, a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings, has told the court that he was bundled into the boot of a car near his home and driven to a container where he was threatened and told to resign as a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings.

His abductors cut him with a Stanley knife, stripped him to his boxer shorts, doused him in bleach, broke his leg with two blows of a wooden bat, beat him on the ground, cut his face and scored the letters QIH into his chest.

They left him bloodied, beaten and shivering on a country road at Drumcoghill in Co Cavan where he was discovered by a man driving a tractor.

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, and Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh.