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Gardai hunt gang thugs linked to crash horror

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Gardai examine the scene where two women were hit and seriously injured by a car which was fleeing an earlier convenience store robbery

Gardai examine the scene where two women were hit and seriously injured by a car which was fleeing an earlier convenience store robbery

Gardai examine the scene where two women were hit and seriously injured by a car which was fleeing an earlier convenience store robbery

Gardai are investigating if the gang which killed an innocent woman during their getaway following a shop robbery went to a local pub and drank pints afterwards.

The Herald can reveal that gardai have identified a number of suspects in the horrific killing of special needs teacher and mother Jacqueline McGovern (54).

The suspects are from the same south Dublin suburb and are known to gardai for burglary, theft and assaults.

A manhunt was continuing for the suspects last night.

Gardai have been going through CCTV footage from a pub in the area as part of their investigation.

"Early on, 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.

"This is one line of inquiry being looked at by gardaĆ­, to establish if these men were involved in the earlier robbery."

Ms McGovern, from Churchview Road in Cabinteely, was walking on Avondale Road with her friend and colleague Audrey Behan, when the getaway car that had been used in the robbery shot across the junction from Ballinclea Road after mounting the path at speed.

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Gardai examine the scene where two women were hit and seriously injured by a car

Gardai examine the scene where two women were hit and seriously injured by a car

Gardai examine the scene where two women were hit and seriously injured by a car

Threatened

The incident happened at 9.20pm on Tuesday night after the robbery at the Centra shop on Barnhill Road in nearby Dalkey.

Two men ran into the shop and threatened staff before making off with money from the cash register.

They left the scene in a car, being driven by a third man, that was then involved in the fatal crash with the women at the junction of Ballinclea Road and Avondale Road in Cabinteely.

The men abandoned the car and ran away.

Ms McGovern and Ms Behan were treated at the scene by emergency service personnel before being taken by ambulance to St Vincent's University Hospital.

Ms McGovern died from her injuries, while Ms Behan was treated for what are described as minor injuries.

Searches for the gang began immediately, with the assistance of the Garda helicopter.

At first light yesterday morning the extent of the carnage of the scene was laid bare.

Shattered car plastic and scrapes and tyre marks showed where the driver of the getaway car lost control while speeding down Ballinclea Road from the Killiney Road direction, most likely after hitting a speed bump.

Black tyre marks show where the car mounted the footpath, and deep scrapes indicate that a tyre, or tyres, may have burst on the car.

One local woman told the Herald: "There was one crashed car and another in the middle of the road, and the women were on the ground.

"I think they were walking on the path, but there were three shoes in the middle of the road too."

Ms McGovern was an SNA teacher in the local Our Lady of Good Counsel Girls' National School. Ms Behan is also an SNA teacher at the same school.

Both teachers were prayed for at Mass in the parish yesterday morning.

The principal of the school, Caroline Quinn, paid tribute to the teachers.

"We are devastated at the loss of our colleague, who worked in one of our three classes for children with autism, and the injury of another staff member," she said.

"Today is about supporting each other, the children, and the school community.

Terrible

"Our critical incident management plan is being implemented and we are supported in that through a team from the National Education Psychological Service.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both colleagues," Ms Quinn added.

Last night locals said they were shocked about the loss of life.

"It's absolutely terrible. Jacqueline would be very well-known in the area," said one.

A sign was left of the door of the Centra shop that was robbed, advising customers that it would remain closed.

Gardai say no one was physically harmed in the shop raid.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dun Laoghaire Garda Station on 01 666 5000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

Investigations are ongoing.