herald

Monday 24 July 2017

Chief suspect in teen's disappearance buried after death in custody

The body of Liam Mullen arrives at the funeral Mass
The body of Liam Mullen arrives at the funeral Mass

A man who was arrested by gardai investigating the disappearance and suspected murder of missing teenager Ciara Breen has been laid to rest in a small funeral ceremony in Dundalk.

Liam Mullen (57) died of a suspected overdose in Dundalk Garda Station on Thursday last week, after he was arrested in the town centre on suspicion of drink-driving.

He is believed to have swallowed a substance before his arrest at around 8.30pm, and became ill at around 10pm.

Despite efforts by a doctor to resuscitate him, Mullen was later pronounced dead.

Worshipped

At his funeral Mass in the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Dundalk yesterday, Fr Paul Montaguie told mourners that Mullen had worked as a mechanic from a young age.

"This was the beginning of a lifelong love of cars and motorcycles," he said.

Symbols brought to the altar to depict his life included a model motorbike and a copy of the Local Trader magazine that he always read from cover to cover.

"Liam was blessed with his son, and worshipped his mother and did everything for her," he added, saying he was very caring towards all the members of the family.

"Liam was a great DIY enthusiast, and could turn his hand to anything. There was some question marks about his skill as a painter, however, especially when on one occasion he painted that many layers of paint on a light switch that it was impossible to switch it on."

He described Mullen as a person who was much-loved by his family and friends.

An investigation into his death has been launched by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

Mullen was the chief suspect in the disappearance and suspected murder of Ciara, who was 17 when she was reported missing on February 13, 1997.

Although he was never brought before the courts in relation to her disappearance, sources revealed Mullen would have been charged with Ciara's murder if her body was located.

He was first arrested in 1999 and again in 2015, after gardai received two letters and took statements from two people who came forward with fresh information. He was later released without charge.

Mullen had always maintained his innocence and said he had no relationship with Ciara other than to say "hello" to her.

He lived on Bachelor's Walk, Dundalk, just yards from the home of Ciara's mother.

On the night of her disappearance, Ciara told her mother she was going to bed but got out of the house to meet someone and was never seen again.

Her friends told gardai that she had made arrangements to meet Mullen, who was almost twice her age, that night.

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