Dublin criminal ‘person of interest’ after murder of Conor O’Brien

Teenager was shot dead outside Co Meath house in attack with no apparent motive

The late  Conor O’Brien (19): Garda investigation has evidence he had very minor dealings with a man who was known as a dangerous criminal. Photograph:  An Garda Síochána/PA Wire

The late Conor O’Brien (19): Garda investigation has evidence he had very minor dealings with a man who was known as a dangerous criminal. Photograph: An Garda Síochána/PA Wire

 

A well-known criminal who has previously been under investigation by gardaí for serious crimes has emerged as a key person of interest after the murder of teenager Conor O’Brien in Co Meath.

Detectives now believe the criminal, who has been active mainly in Dublin and Meath in the past, interacted with the 19 year old at some stage last Thursday night before he was shot in the chest outside his home in Enfield.

Mr O’Brien’s body was found in the driveway outside his home on the Trim Road about 12 hours later.

Neighbours reported hearing a loud bang at about 8.30pm last Thursday. Gardaí believe this was the fatal shot.

Originally from Gorey in Co Wexford, Mr O’Brien had been living in a self-contained apartment at the back of a house owned by a family member for a number of months. He was due to start a new apprenticeship as a blacksmith in Limerick in the coming weeks and was preparing to move there last weekend.

Mistaken identity

Mr O’Brien had never been convicted of any crimes and had never come to the Garda’s attention. Sources said there appeared to be no motive, leading detectives to consider the possibility of mistaken identity.

While investigators have examined the Wexford teenager’s phone records and other activity, Garda sources said nothing untoward had been identified. However, the investigation has found evidence Mr O’Brien had very minor dealings with a man who has been known as a dangerous criminal.

That man appears to have been in regular employment of late and he came into contract with Mr O’Brien last week, though it is not clear if the teenager knew anything about the man’s background.

Fatal shooting

Gardaí say the contact between Mr O’Brien and the new person of interest in the case should have been “straightforward” and not “hostile” in any way. However, detectives now have firm evidence the two men were in contact late last week and they are trying to establish if the fatal shooting is in some way linked to that interaction.

The Dublin criminal, who appears to have led a quieter life in recent years, is being treated as a person of interest and witness in the case. He has been spoken to by investigating gardaí. However, he did so voluntarily and he was not arrested.

A murder investigation began last week when the postmortem confirmed Mr O’Brien had been shot by a third party. A senior investigating officer has been appointed and an incident room established at Trim Garda station, assisted by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.