herald

Friday 24 February 2017

Knife found near scene of fatal teen stabbing

Reece Cullen (16) was fatally stabbed in an attack in Tallaght
Reece Cullen (16) was fatally stabbed in an attack in Tallaght

Gardai have uncovered a large knife in a stream near to where tragic teenager Reece Cullen was stabbed to death.

Officers found the knife close to the house in Kilclare Crescent, Tallaght, where Reece (16) was murdered last Thursday.

Detectives are investigating whether it was the murder weapon.

Gardai arrested a 14-year-old boy but released him without charge on Saturday. A file has been sent to the DPP. A 29-year-old woman was also arrested for withholding information.

Sources have said that gardai are still looking to speak to at least one other male teenager as part of the investigation.

The new development in the case came ahead of Reece's funeral mass, which is due to take place at the Church of St Martin de Porres, Old Bawn, Tallaght, at 10am today.

The teenager will be buried at Kilmashogue Cemetery in Rathfarnham.

Reece was fatally attacked at about 3pm last Thursday.

A post-mortem examination determined that he suffered one stab wound to the heart.

He was discovered by a female neighbour bleeding at the foot of a staircase. The teen was rushed to Tallaght Hospital but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Dispute

Gardai believe that the murder happened as part of a dispute between two groups of local teenagers.

It is understood that one of the groups had threatened the other with a pellet gun on at least two occasions over the past month.

The murder of Reece and a spate of recent knife attacks in the capital have caused widespread concern.

Yesterday, Assistant Garda Commissioner Jack Nolan, who oversees policing in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), warned people about the sanctions for carrying a knife.

Mr Nolan expressed his own concern at the prevalence of knife crime, and said gardai would be targeting people carrying such weapons in an enforcement-driven campaign.

"I share concern about the use of knives in assaults. Some start in pretty innocuous fashion and wind up in pretty serious fashion," he told the Dublin City Council (DCC) Joint Policing Committee.

Campaign

"We are committed to, first of all, preventing this problem. We are currently in the process of analysing the extent of knife crime in the city.

"We did it last year and we are doing it again to see areas, times and trend types.

"We will then have a media campaign advising young people on the dangers of using knives, then we will have a very focused enforcement campaign, utilising the provisions of the firearms and offensive weapons act to allow An Garda Siochana to stop, search, arrest and detain individuals carrying knives or such implements."

So far this year, three serious knife crimes have been carried out in the capital - including the fatal attack on young Reece.

The other two incidents occurred in Ballyfermot on New Year's Day and Drumcondra on January 3.

There was also a savage knife attack in Dalkey shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve.

"These investigations are making positive progress. We need to address that knife crime affects not just the victim but also the person committing the crime," Mr Nolan added.

"I would ask people who have a knife to leave it at home and to not have it in your possession."

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