Blood has been found in the getaway car used by a gang fleeing a hit and run which resulted in the death of a teacher in south Dublin on Tuesday night, the Herald can reveal.
Detectives now believe this DNA evidence will play a key role in the prosecution of the criminals involved.
Special needs assistant Jacqueline McGovern (54) was killed when she was hit by an out-of-control car in Killiney following an armed robbery at a Centra just minute s earlier.
"Blood detected in the abandoned car is key. Gardai have a clear idea who was behind this crime. Now this vital DNA is crucial to proving it," a senior source said last night.
The Herald understands that the three raiders thought to be involved in the shocking crime are from the Ballybrack, Sallynoggin and Monkstown areas.
The trio, all young men in their early 20s, are known to gardai for involvement in crime, including violent disorder.
The Herald revealed yesterday that gardai are probing whether the gang who killed the innocent teacher during their getaway went to a local pub in the aftermath of the incident.
Three men were in the speeding car after two of them had carried out the robbery at Centra shop, Barnhill Stores, on Barnhill Road in Dalkey, minutes before the crash.
Ms McGovern and her friend and colleague Audrey Behan (51) were injured when the getaway car hit them at 9.20pm on Tuesday night at the junction of Ballinclea Road and Avondale Road.
The friends had been out for a walk when the incident took place.
The women were rushed to St Vincent's Hospital, where Ms McGovern later died.
Ms Behan's injuries are not believed to be serious and she is expected to make a full recovery.
There were indications last night that the large convenience shop did not have CCTV in operation during the robbery, as it was in the process of being replaced.
The raiders, armed with a knife, held up staff at the store on Tuesday at around 9.10pm.
The duo threatened the workers and made off with the contents of the till, believed to be a couple of thousand euro. Following the crash, the three thieves "miraculously" walked away, sources said.
However, detectives stationed at Dun Laoghaire have now identified the pub - close to the scene of the fatal crash - where the raiders hid out in the aftermath. Gardai have now obtained CCTV from this premises.
"The three men were reported to have been in a local bar drinking pints after this robbery occurred, and they were rattled by all accounts," a source said.
"The Nissan Almera used by the gang was mangled following the crash. The getaway vehicle has not been taxed or insured since last April."
Its last registered owner was interviewed extensively on Wednesday.
He told gardai he had sold the car on for a small sum. His account has been accepted by gardai and they say he is not involved in any criminality.