Cannabis farm is found at scene of fatal boiler blast
The force of an explosion from a back boiler in a Drogheda house that killed a man was so strong that it decapitated the victim, the Herald can reveal.
Lithuanian national Edvinas Rudzinskas (28) was killed instantly in the blast at the bungalow he was renting in Beaulieu, near Termonfeckin in Co Louth, at around 11.20pm on Tuesday.
A woman in her 20s was injured in the incident, while another Lithuanian national, a man in his 50s, received serious injuries to his abdomen, legs, and face in the explosion.
Both of the injured were rushed by ambulance to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for treatment.
Neighbours said the tenants had been renting the house for around two years and "kept to themselves".
Gardai carrying out a routine search of the property while investigating the blast discovered an extensive and sophisticated cannabis cultivation and processing plant in a large shed at the back of the house.
It included heating and lighting systems to grow the plants to their full potential, as well as processing and packing equipment.
Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters, from Drogheda Garda Station, told a press conference that around 200 mature cannabis plants were discovered, with an estimated street value of €150,000.
A next door neighbour reported hearing a loud bang when the explosion happened, but at first didn't know what it was.
"I heard a loud bang and went to the front door to see what it might be, and I could hear a woman screaming," said the man.
"Then I saw smoke at the side of the house and the woman came in to me, but she had no English and was on the phone talking in her own language.
"Her hands were injured. It took a while to figure out what had happened."
The neighbour later discovered fragments of the fireplace, coal and fire bricks in his garden following the violent explosion.
Gardai sealed off the area for a forensic examination which was carried out by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.
The gable window of the house, which is in a small row of cottages, was blown out in the explosion, leaving the warped frame hanging in the opening.
Gda Supt Watters said two investigations were under way, one into the cause of the explosion in the living room of the house, and one into the cannabis cultivation at the back of the property.