Man arrested as female body parts found in Wicklow

Human remains discovered in at least five locations, head and hands found in a bag

The scene at Military Road, Glencree, on Sunday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The scene at Military Road, Glencree, on Sunday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Gardaí have arrested a man in his 30s in connection with the discovery of female body parts in Co Wicklow.

The man was arrested on Tuesday evening in Wexford.

Body parts have now been discovered in at least five locations over a 20km range in Co Wicklow, with the head and hands found in a bag on Tuesday afternoon.

The first two finds were made by members of the public late last week.

Search teams made up of members of the Garda, Defence Forces and Civil Defence are now searching a 30km stretch of the Military Road from the Featherbeds to near Laragh.

The remains were originally believed to belong to a white male in his mid-twenties, who gardaí had said they believed was murdered and dismembered to prevent him being identified.

However, Supt Pat Ward told a media briefing at Bray Garda station on Tuesday evening that gardaí are satisified all the body parts belong to the same woman.

“This has been a very complex investigation for us and very unusual in the manner of the investigation - it has been ongoing since the first discovery on June 10th,” Supt Ward said.

Gruesome

“We have made significant progress in our searches we have conducted to date. With each find ... we have made significant progress and are now have new information and have developed a more complete picture”.

Supt Ward said gardaí could not speculate as to the age of the woman and she had no distinguishing marks or features. He said they believe the woman died within a week of her body parts being discovered and the search will continue.

Further forensic and DNA testing will take place over the coming days.

“The area we searched was very challenging, the area from the first find to the one on Military Road spans 20km and we made significant progress searching that area,” he said.

“I may be a little gruesome in what I have to say and I’m conscious of the fact that the body I found is of a loved one but I have to say that what we have found today are limbs and significant parts of the torso. We have also found a bag with the head and hands of the deceased.

“The findings today and forensic examinations carried out indicate the body is that of a female - an adult female.”

“We are happy enough and satisfied that we have discovered most of the body and we are satisfied at this stage that we’re talking about one body and not multiple bodies.”

Appeal for information

Supt Ward appealed for any information about any woman who has not been since between June 2nd and June 10th to contact them.

“We would also like to hear from people who were working or around the Military Road area - anywhere from Glencree down to Glenlara and along that 30km of Military Road in Bray,” he said.

“If anyone has any CCTV or webcams or Go Pro footage or video footage from that area and in that time period between June 2nd to 10th, we would be happy to hear from them.”

Earlier, Supt Ward told a separate media briefing at the edge of the cordoned-off scene on Military Road that it appeared body parts had been thrown out of a moving vehicle. No efforts had been made to conceal the remains.

“From Glencree right down to Glenmacnass, the pattern seems to be the body parts were dispersed on the side of the road, from a moving vehicle; a van or something like that.

Parts discarded

“It seems a vehicle travelled from north to south of Military Road, or the opposite way. And as that car travelled along it seems the body parts were discarded in this cruel manner.”

The latest find was made early on Tuesday afternoon about 3km north of Glenmacnass waterfall. It comes after three days of searching.

The first find, the upper part of the unidentified person, was made by a member of the public on Saturday evening.

However, that man dismissed the bones as belonging to a wild animal.

It was not until the next day that a local person went to gardaí after seeing media reports about the murder investigation.

The first find was made in the Glencree area. And from there to the location of the body part recovered furthest away, at Glenmacnass, is about 30km.