herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Gangland serial killer puts pressure on mob suspected of couple's disappearance

Willie Maughan and his partner Anna Varslavane
Willie Maughan and his partner Anna Varslavane

A DANGEROUS mob who are suspected of being at the centre of the disturbing disappearance of a 38-year-old man and his 21-year-old girlfriend are now under "severe pressure" from one of the country's worst gangland serial killers.

No trace has been found of Tallaght man Willie Maughan and his partner Anna Varslavane who were last seen in the Gormanston area of Co Meath on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 14.

It is feared the couple may have been murdered by a notorious Traveller gang who were also responsible for shooting dead one of their criminal rivals in broad daylight on a Co Dublin street last year.

After carrying out a number of searches in the Gormanston area a fortnight ago, including at a disused quarry, gardai say that there have been no further developments in the mysterious case.

However, it has emerged that the dangerous mob who Mr Maughan had been associated with are themselves facing threats from a gang linked to a 38-year-old Ballyfermot criminal who is the chief suspect in a spate of unsolved murders.

READ MORE: Missing Willie refused to do a hit for ruthless gangsters

The Ballyfermot "serial killer" is understood to be now living in Dublin's south inner city where he has formed a close relationship with a junior associate of convicted psycho murderer Jeffrey Dumbrell.

"This whole situation has become very complicated and now the mob who were the original suspects in the Willie Maughan case are being threatened themselves over money that is owed," a source explained last night.

"The whole thing is a mess and like is often the case in these situations, rowing over money and alleged debts can have very serious consequences, especially when you consider who is now involved," they said.

READ MORE: Family fear drug gang targeted missing couple: 'Our son knew too much'

The 38-year-old "serial killer" who has been at loggerheads with the Traveller gang has spent many years of his life in prison including on remand for a murder that he was cleared of and a lengthy jail sentence for his involvement in a series of terrifying armed robberies in the 1990s.

Apart from the fatal shooting of a man in Tallaght, the Ballyfermot thug is also a suspect in a host of other gangland murders some of which he acted as a getaway driver.

He is suspected of involvement in the double murder of Brian Downes (40) and Edward Ward (24) who were shot dead in Walkinstown in October, 2007, as well as the brutal slaying of career criminal John Berney (29) in March 2008.

Willie Maughan comes from a respected family in the Tallaght area who have insisted that the missing man had no involvement in organised crime.

In a previous interview, his dad Joe revealed his son may have been killed because he refused to murder someone.

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