Six young children in house that was target of pipe bomb attack
A vicious gangster whose mob are the chief suspects in the suspected murders of a couple who went missing more than six months ago are being investigated for a pipe bomb attack on a house.
No one was injured in the incident at the family home of Willie Maughan's sister, Martina, in Rathfarnham, late on Thursday night.
Six children were in the house at the time.
It is feared that Willie Maughan (34) and his partner Anna Varslavane (21) were murdered and their bodies dumped after they disappeared last April.
Gardai are investigating whether the pipe bomb attack is the latest instalment in a campaign of terror led by a north Dublin gang boss who is suspected of ordering the murders of Mr Maughan and Ms Varslavane, who were last seen in the Gormanston area of Co Meath on the afternoon of April 14.
The attack happened at 11.20pm on Thursday on the Stocking Hill estate in Rathfarnham. The pipe bomb exploded after it was thrown at the property, causing damage to a window and a car.
A friend of the family, who did not want to be named, said six young children including a two-year-old were in the house.
"A young lad jumped out of a car and ran right up to the driveway to throw the pipe bomb," said the friend.
"There were six young children in the house when this happened. Luckily, the pipe bomb bounced off the wall and exploded in the front garden, or else the family would be identifying bodies in the morgue.
"The force of the explosion was so fierce that it shattered the side window of the house and sent the car three feet in the air.
"Imagine if it had landed in the house - imagine the damage that would have been caused then.
"We've only buried 10 people who died in the fire in Carrickmines. These lads wanted to cause more death and despair, I'm sure of it."
The army bomb disposal team was called to the scene to carry out post-blast analysis.
Gardai have been continuing their searches in the Gormanston area for evidence of Mr Maughan and Ms Varslavane's disappearance, but it is understood there is little hope they will be found alive.
It was previously revealed that the couple had made a desperate phone call pleading for help on the day they dis- appeared.
Ms Varslavane said "help, help, help" in a call to Mr Maughan's family and their voices were audible in the background before the phone went dead.
It has since emerged that the gang boss who is believed to be behind their suspected murders has been involved in a "terrifying campaign of intimidation" against close associates of Mr Maughan after he became enraged by comments about him on a social networking site.
The Herald previously revealed that he taunted and laughed at gardai as they carried out searches for the missing couple during the summer.
The criminal cannot be named for legal reasons as he is facing serious charges before the courts.
Apart from the suspected murders of the missing couple, the gangster, who is aged in his 30s, is suspected of organising a feud-related murder in north Dublin last year and was arrested and questioned about that last May.