Gardaí investigating Lunney attack remove horsebox for examination

Team recovers CCTV it believes shows attacker buying bleach used to clean scene

Gardaí  conduct a search in the townland of Drumbad, near Ballinagh in Co Cavan, for evidence in relation to the abduction and assault of Kevin Lunney. Photograph: Lorraine Teevan

Gardaí conduct a search in the townland of Drumbad, near Ballinagh in Co Cavan, for evidence in relation to the abduction and assault of Kevin Lunney. Photograph: Lorraine Teevan

 

Searches around a Co Cavan scrapyard by gardaí investigating the abduction and torture of business executive Kevin Lunney wrapped up last night.

Garda scenes-of-crime analysts had spent Monday examining a horsebox beside the scrapyard where they believe the attack was carried out. The box was tested for DNA and fingerprints before being removed from the area on Monday evening for further analysis.

Detectives say they are making good progress in their investigations and are confident the horsebox is the scene of the crime. They believe attempts were made to clean the horsebox of forensic evidence after the brutal attack which left Mr Lunney with serious injuries.

The 50-year-old executive with Quinn Industrial Holdings was bundled into a vehicle by his kidnappers who then slashed him about the face and neck with a Stanley-type knife and broke one his legs in two places below the knee.

They then poured bleach on the wounds in an apparent effort to remove DNA evidence before dumping the father of six on the side of the road in Cornafean, Co Cavan.

The investigation team has recovered CCTV from a small local shop which they believe shows one of the attackers, a known violent criminal from Cavan, buying the bleach used to clean the scene.

Gardaí are satisfied they have identified the man but had made no moves to arrest him as of Monday evening. He is a member of a crime gang which is believed to have access to firearms and which has been involved in several cross-Border ATM robberies.

Several members of the gang are former members of the IRA. Sources say they are confident of arrests this week.

Monday’s search, which was conducted by a divisional search team and members of the Garda Technical Bureau, concentrated on the townland of Drumbade outside the village of Ballinagh, Co Cavan. As well as examining the horsebox, gardaí searched the surrounding area for potential evidence.

Audi car

They are also still searching for the Audi car used to kidnap Mr Lunney outside his Fermanagh home and transport him across the Border.

Mr Lunney was dumped at a small crossroads near Cornafean, about 12km west of Cavan town, where he was found by a young tractor driver working for a local contractor. The young man and his mother comforted Mr Lunney, who asked that his wife be told he was alive, while waiting for an ambulance and gardaí to arrive.

The investigation is being run from an incident room in Ballinagh Garda station with the co-operation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Mr Lunney is one of a number of executives who formerly worked for the businessman Seán Quinn, and who are now helping operate the former Quinn businesses in Derrylin.

They have been subjected to a series of threats over recent years as part of a sinister campaign against the new ownership of businesses that are vital local employers. Mr Quinn has repeatedly condemned the campaign.