herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Five held in Don murder probes look for DNA back

FIVE PEOPLE arrested and released over two gun murders linked to gangster The Don have failed in a bid to have their DNA samples destroyed.

The five, including Gary Thompson, went to Dublin District Court to have samples returned to them or destroyed. The material was gathered as part of investigations into the gun killings of Paul ‘Farmer’ Martin and Graham McNally.

The two Finglas men were shot dead in separate incidents, five months apart, in August 2008 and January 2009. Both murders are believed to have been ordered by west Dublin crime boss known as The Don.

The five people appeared in Dublin District Court last week as the State applied for extra time to hold the DNA samples.

LEGISLATION

The case is one of the first to be heard under 2006 legislation allowing detectives to retain DNA samples for 12 months.

Gardai applied to hold the DNA for another two years, which was opposed by Thompson and four others.

A judge granted detectives extra time to hold the samples, telling them they could keep the evidence for another 12 months as part of a “huge” investigation into the killings of ‘Farmer’ Martin and Graham McNally.

All five people who gave the samples had tried to block the move, saying they were entitled to have the DNA back or destroyed after a year.

The State had originally sought two years, but Judge Bryan Smyth granted 12 months instead, after hearing gardai intended to compare the samples with evidence from firearms they still hoped to find.

The murders were two of the highest profile gun killings in recent years.

Paul 'Farmer' Martin was murdered as he sat in the Jolly Toper pub on Church Street in Finglas in August 2008.

DEALER

Martin (39) from Cardiffsbrige Road in Finglas, was an armed robber and local drug dealer.

Graham McNally was shot in the head six times as he stepped out of a car on the Old Asbourne Road in January 2009.

McNally (34) from Cappagh Avenue in Finglas, was reportedly the right-hand man of Finglas crime boss The Don.

Both men reportedly fell out with The Don in the period before their death.

Detective Sergeant Andrew O'Rourke said in court that saliva samples were taken from the respondents while they were detained at Finglas, Cabra, Blanchardstown and Whitehall Garda Stations on March 4, 2009.

The samples had been sent to the garda forensic laboratory and while final written reports were awaited, Det Sgt O'Rourke said none of the samples had proved to be positive "to his knowledge".

However, he said there were items outstanding in relation to the murders and gardai hoped to find this evidence and carry out comparisons with the saliva samples.

He said certain information had also come to light in the last week which could lead to a further arrest.

"This is still a huge murder investigation being carried out by the unit at Finglas, with the assistance from the NBCI", Det Sgt O'Rourke said.

Addressing the court last week, one of the respondents Gary Thompson said: "I put it to the court that the detective is clutching at straws."

He repeatedly asked why the gardai needed two years.

"The nature of these murder investigations can be long and protracted," Det Sgt O'Rourke said.

"It is not often possible to put a definite timeframe on them. I am not in a position to say if a file will be completed in the next month, two months or six months."

Judge Smyth extended the time for a year.

hnews@herald.ie

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