Garda says murder of 17-year-old was 'brutal and savage attack on a child'

Victim Keane Mulready-Woods had been missing from his home since Sunday

The murder of Keane Mulready-Woods (17) and the dismembering of his body was a "brutal and savage" act and the gangs involved in feuding in Drogheda, Co Louth, would be dealt with "robustly", the senior officer in charge of policing the area has said.

Chief Supt Christy Mangan added that gardaí had on Wednesday evening confirmed to the Mulready-Woods family their "son and brother" was dead and that limbs found in Darndale, north Dublin, on Monday night were those of the teenager.

“This is a brutal and savage attack on a child and is completely unacceptable in any normal democratic society,” Chief Supt Mangan said.

“The level of violence is shocking and the investigation into the murder of Keane is being co-ordinated from Drogheda Garda station,” he added, of the murder that is believed to have happened in the town on Sunday.


“It is important to remember that Keane was a child, a young boy, trying to find his way in life. He has now lost his life and his family have lost their loved son and brother.”

The killing is believed to be the third murder in the worsening Drogheda drugs turf war. One line of inquiry is that it was direct retaliation for the shooting dead in Bettystown last November of drug dealer Richard Carberry (39).

Though aged just 17 years, Keane was suspected of threatening other people on behalf of one of the gangs as well as damaging properties in petrol bombings in feud attacks.

Speaking to reporters in Drogheda Garda station last night, Chief Supt Mangan said an extensive investigation was now underway into the “absolutely horrific” murder.

A house in Drogheda has been under examination, he said, as well as an area close to it.

Asked why somebody would murder a 17-year-old in Drogheda and then dismember him and take the remains for dumping in public in Dublin, he said that was as yet unclear.

The Irish Times understands gardaí have uncovered evidence of a violent attack at a property sealed off in Drogheda since Tuesday, including blood and signs the property had been cleaned.

A fire that had been burning on a green area close to the house was also being examined in the event efforts were made to destroy evidence there.

Chief Supt Mangan accepted there had been very significant gang violence in Drogheda between “warring factions” for well over a year. However, while the Garda had charged suspects with crimes and seized drugs and guns, the criminals involved were “intent on inflicting maximum damage on each other”.

These criminals, he said, wanted to “control parts of society through cocaine” and wanted to “enhance their own lifestyles through drugs and intimidation”.

“We’re not going to allow that happen. We’re there to protect people in Drogheda, across society, and we certainly will do so in a very robust fashion, I can tell you that,” he added.

Further human remains, including a head, were found in a stolen car that was discovered ablaze in a laneway in Dublin’s north inner city off Clonliffe Avenue and Trinity Terrace at about 1.30am yesterday morning.

DNA testing was expected to show they were also Keane’s remains.

The vehicle they were found in, a Volvo S40, had been stolen in Sandymount, south Dublin, on December 15th and fitted with false registration places.

When stolen, the Volvo’s registration number was 161 D 48646 though it had been fitted with false plates, 141 MO 1925, by the time it was discovered on fire.

Gardaí are trying to piece together the movements of that vehicle since it was stolen one month ago.

Anyone with information about any part of Keane’s abduction, murder and dismembering is asked to contact any one of the three incident rooms operating in Coolock, Mountjoy and Drogheda Garda stations.

Keane was last seen in Drogheda by his family at about 6pm on Sunday.

Just under 24 hours later, family members were so concerned they had not heard from him that they began posting appeals on social media as to his whereabouts.

Just before 10pm on Monday gardaí received a call stating human remains had been found in a black bag on Moatview Drive, Darndale, north Dublin.

As a threat had been made by one of the feuding gangs in Drogheda to abduct, murder and dismember Keane, gardaí immediately feared the partial remains were those of the 17-year-old.

This has now proven to be the case and the further remains found in the burning Volvo in Dublin about 27½ hours later were also believed to be some of the remainder of his body, though not all of it.

When he was last seen alive in the vicinity of Dominic’s Bridge, Drogheda, Keane was wearing a navy Hugo Boss tracksuit, black Hugo Boss runners with brown sole and black laces, a red or orange Canada Goose jacket and a Gucci baseball cap.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times