herald

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Gardai identify suspect who bought the bleach poured on kidnap exec

A garda diverts a car on a section of the R198 road in Co Cavan which was closed yesterday as officers searched for evidence after the attack on Kevin Lunney
A garda diverts a car on a section of the R198 road in Co Cavan which was closed yesterday as officers searched for evidence after the attack on Kevin Lunney

A number of men will be quizzed over sinister death threats made against Quinn Industrial Holdings directors over the past four years.

A cross-border investigation into a spate of serious incidents, as well as the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney last week, is continuing and at least one member of the crime gang has been identified.

Yesterday, fresh searches were carried out in Cavan as part of the inquiry focusing on sheds and outhouses in the area.

Quiz

One Cavan criminal, who is suspected of buying bleach in a local shop which was poured over Mr Lunney, has also been identified but not yet arrested.

The Herald has learned that, separately, gardai are expected to quiz several men from Cavan and Leitrim for allegedly issuing death threats.

A number of incidents have been reported to both gardai and the PSNI but to date no one has been arrested.

QIH director and chairman John McCartin has confirmed he received five separate threats at face-to-face meetings.

He has also confirmed he reported the individuals who approached him and that he kept contemporaneous notes about each incident.

During Mr Lunney's ordeal on Tuesday of last week, his captors said he, Mr McCartin and the other three members of the management team would be shot if they didn't resign immediately.

After consulting with company directors, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has asked that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris investigate the garda responses during the five-year campaign of violence and intimidation which culminated with the terrifying attack on Mr Lunney.

The investigation of the previously reported threats will form a separate strand to the main investigation into the actual abduction and torture on Tuesday.

Officers believe Mr Lunney, the chief operating officer of QIH, was held in a horsebox, parked close to sheds, during a horrific ordeal in which his leg was broken and he sustained knife wounds to his chest, face and hands.

They are making significant progress with their inquiries to pinpoint the precise location as well as the identity of those involved.

Officers are satisfied a crime gang with links to former Provisional IRA members was paid to carry out the attack on Mr Lunney. The investigation is also trying to establish the identity of the person or persons, who directed the gang to carry out the attack.

The thugs cut off part of his fingernails during the ordeal.

Gardai operating out of the Cavan-Monaghan division swooped on the outhouses and sheds yesterday morning to pave the way for a detailed forensic examination of the site by specialists from the Technical Bureau based in the Phoenix Park.

Rammed

Mr Lunney (50), a father-of-six, was abducted when his car was rammed as he arrived at his home in Kinawley, Co Fermanagh.

He was bundled into another car and taken to the horsebox where he was brutally attacked.

After the attack he was driven to Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co Cavan, and dumped on the side of the road where he was found by a local farmer who was passing in a tractor.

In a joint appeal, the Garda and the PSNI are seeking help from anyone who may have seen a black Audi saloon being driven in the Derrylin, Fermanagh, Swanlinbar, Killeshandra, Cavan areas to contact them.

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