herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Canal murder case gardai may go to Australia in hunt for more clues

Gardai at the scene of the search in Sallins, where they are trying to locate the last remains of Kenneth O’Brien (Photo: Collins)
Gardai at the scene of the search in Sallins, where they are trying to locate the last remains of Kenneth O’Brien (Photo: Collins)
Kenneth O'Brien

Detectives investigating the grisly murder of Kenneth O'Brien may travel to Australia in an attempt to get a full picture of the gangland victim's life in Perth.

The butchered father-of-one spent most of his final three years in Australia, and sources say that while gardai have already been liaising with Interpol over Mr O'Brien's life there, they want to get more information.

Most of the dismembered body has now been recovered, but it is understood that parts of the victims' hands remain missing.

Searches were carried out again yesterday along two stretches of the Grand Canal at Sallins, Co Kildare, where parts of the body were recovered on Sunday and Monday.

Gardai may now extend their investigation to Perth, where Mr O'Brien was recently working to help support his partner and their young son, who remained in Ireland.

Killers

The 33-year-old JCB driver and diesel fitter, who lived in Lealand Road, in Clondalkin, had only returned home a month before his death.

"It is very likely that gardai will be sent to Australia in the coming weeks as part of this investigation," a source told the Herald last night.

The development comes as gardai still search for the location of Mr O'Brien's murder and the handgun that was used in the crime.

A post-mortem examination established that Mr O'Brien was shot once in the head before his body was cut up with an electric saw.

Gardai are working on the theory that he knew his killers and met with them on the morning of Friday, January 15 - the day before his torso was found in the Grand Canal at Ardclough, Co Kildare.

He had told his partner the previous night that he intended to travel down to the country for work. Gardai have yet to establish whether he was collected as he left his estate or used public transport.

The next major development in the case happened eight days later, when more of the victim's body parts were found in the canal near Sallins. It is understood that Mr O'Brien's head was discovered on Monday morning.

The body parts were found in bin bags and a sport bag, and examinations have shown that Mr O'Brien was not tortured before he was shot dead.

Investigations are continuing to focus on a prolific west Dublin heroin-dealing gang.

Mr O'Brien is suspected of either laundering their cash or providing them with money for their trafficking network when a dispute broke out. However, gardai stress that this is not their only line of inquiry.

The investigation team believes his killing and all aspects of the disposal of his remains were planned before he was lured to a meeting with people he knew.

Ruthless

Detectives believe the gang scattered the victim's remains at different locations in an attempt to hinder the investigation into the murder.

They also believe that, in a shocking show of power, the ruthless west Dublin gang wanted the victim's body parts to be found so that a grim message would be sent out to anyone who dared to rip them off or challenge them in the future.

Gardai are continuing to appeal to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious along the Grand Canal since January 15 to contact them.

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