Gardaí close to arresting one of the main suspects in Kevin Lunney case

The man is to be targeted after three of his associates were detained for questioning

Kevin Lunney, a 50-year-old father of five, was abducted close to his home in Co Fermanagh before being tortured and dumped in Co Cavan. Photograph: PA

Kevin Lunney, a 50-year-old father of five, was abducted close to his home in Co Fermanagh before being tortured and dumped in Co Cavan. Photograph: PA

 

Gardaí are preparing to arrest one of the main suspects for the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney after three of his associates were detained for questioning on Thursday.

Detectives investigating the September attack on Mr Lunney, chief operations officer at Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), believe a woman in her 50s and man in his 20s arrested yesterday are close to one of the chief suspects.

A man in his 40s was also detained. They were being questioned in Cavan, Kells and Monaghan Garda stations.

They are the first people to be arrested since the campaign of violence began against QIH staff and property in 2011.

The investigation team decided to arrest the woman and younger man and question them before the main suspect they are close to was detained in a bid to limit his ability to potentially use them for alibi evidence.

Informed sources said it would be more difficult at a later date for the woman and young man to supply alibi evidence for their associate if they failed to mention details of that evidence when answering questions during their detention.

Their associate, who is well-known to police on both sides of the Border, was a close associate of Cyril McGuinness who died during a police raid in Derbyshire last Friday.

Leader of the gang

McGuinness, a Dubliner who had lived for decades in Co Fermanagh, was regarded as the leader of the gang that had targeted the QIH executives, including the attack on Mr Lunney.

Career criminal McGuinness was hiding in a safe house near Buxton when he collapsed and died as it was being raided by Derbyshire police at the request of the PSNI.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct in the UK on Thursday night said a postmortem had proven inconclusive and further tests were required.

“Our investigation has gathered body-worn video footage, initial accounts from police officers who were present and police radio transmissions,” a spokesman said.

“From our early inquiries there is no evidence that taser was deployed during the incident but work is still ongoing to confirm this.”

The chief suspect is suspected of aiding the disposal of the horsebox that Mr Lunney was tortured in, as well as other aspects of the crime.

The horsebox has been recovered by gardaí, as has a van believed to have been used in the attack. Both vehicles have been undergoing forensic examination.

Mr Lunney, a 50-year-old father of five, was abducted close to his home in Co Fermanagh on September 17th before being dumped, badly beaten and stripped to his underwear, in Co Cavan.

Mr Lunney’s leg was broken and the letters QIH were carved into his chest during a 2½ hour ordeal. His attack represented an escalation in the campaign of intimidation and violence against the executive team at QIH in recent years.

Since 2011, people and companies involved in the sale, acquisition or management of assets formerly owned by Seán Quinn have been targeted with threats and violence. Mr Quinn has condemned the violence and insisted the people carrying it out were not acting in his name.