Suspect in horror abduction linked to 'suicide' murder
A ruthless criminal questioned over the violent abduction and carjacking of a 46-year-old businesswoman is a suspect in the murder of another woman whose death was staged to look like a suicide, the Herald can reveal.
The businesswoman at the centre of the latest carjacking - named locally as Sabrina Cence - was last night recovering from the horror ordeal at her Co Roscommon home.
Ms Cence was attacked by two men as she returned to her car on Ballymahon Street in Longford town shortly before 6pm on Wednesday.
The thugs threatened the woman at knifepoint and bundled her into the back of her car before speeding through the town and along the main Athlone Road.
Yesterday, a family member who asked not to be identified told the Herald: "She's at home. She hasn't slept at all. We're all a bit shocked. As it stands they're at home now and they're not talking to anyone except the gardai. Physically, she's okay but she hasn't slept at all."
Sources have revealed that the kidnapping incident was caught on CCTV and the two criminals, who wore balaclavas, were seen on camera as they bundled Ms Cence into the back of her own car.
An unmarked garda patrol car noticed Ms Cence's vehicle and went in pursuit - but when the pair attempted to give the gardai the slip, they crashed the silver 2010-reg Mercedes into a ditch.
It has emerged that one of the thugs suffered a broken arm after he was knocked down by a car when the criminals attempted to flee the scene. Gardai are continuing to quiz two eastern European men about the shocking incident which unfolded in Longford town yesterday.
It is understood that Ms Cence's family own Macari's Deli Burger chip shop in Longford town. She remained in the back of her car during the entire ordeal, which lasted for around 30 minutes.
"This is being treated as an abduction," a senior source told the Herald. "God knows what would have happened to that lady if they got away with her - this was more than just a robbery.
"They are extremely serious criminals and gardai have been aware of them since they moved from Cavan to Longford town a number of months ago."
It has also emerged that one of the criminals was previously questioned about the murder of Latvian mum-of-one Antra Ozolina (49), who was found dead in her home on Main Street in Kilnaleck, Co Cavan on June 28.
Detectives are convinced that Ms Ozolina was murdered before her killer carefully arranged the scene to make it look like she had ended her own life.
It has emerged that the thugs involved in the kidnapping in Longford had been spotted acting suspiciously in the centre of the town and gardai at Longford station immediately tracked the men on CCTV.
Once the incident was observed, gardai set off in pursuit. The garda car caught up with the businesswoman's Mercedes and twice attempted to get it to stop. The garda car was then rammed and the attackers sped off in an attempt to escape on the Athlone Road - but their car spun out of control, left the road and struck a ditch.
The driver, in his 20s, was injured, but the second attacker fled from the crash and attempted to make his getaway on foot.
Chasing gardai arrived at the scene within minutes and rescued the distraught woman from the car. She received a number of minor injuries and was badly shaken. She was taken by ambulance to Mullingar Hospital but, following overnight medical treatment, was released yesterday.
The driver, whose arm was broken when he attempted to flee, was taken by ambulance to Tullamore Hospital.
Members of the Regional Support Unit were summoned and, following a short search, the second attacker, also in his 20s, was tracked down and arrested.
He was being detained and questioned under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at Longford Garda Station yesterday. A technical examination was carried out on the Mercedes car at Longford garda station.
Meanwhile investigations are continuing into the murder of mushroom picker Antra Ozolina. She had a daughter in her 20s, was living with two other people in Kilnaleck and had worked for Breffni Mushrooms for 10 years.
Garda investigations and a post-mortem proved that her death was not self-inflicted.