THE MAN who died in the first fatal road crash of 2011 was a main suspect in the brutal murder of a teenager.
Patrick Harper, who died in a horrific crash with his friend Susan Larrigan on New Year's morning, was arrested and questioned over the murder of Niall Dorr in October.
Niall Dorr (18) was beaten to death by a group of men in Dundalk on October 13.
Sources say that gardai believe Harper was one of two men responsible for starting the row with the tragic 18-year- old.
They also believe that Harper (22) was present at the scene when the kickboxing enthusiast was killed. He was one of a number of people arrested and questioned in Dundalk in the aftermath of the murder.
He was later released without charge but was considered one of the prime suspects in the investigation.
Mr Harper, from Naughton's Close, in Dundalk, died following a single vehicle crash on the M1, just outside the town, at 4.30am on New Year's Day.
He and his 17-year-old friend, Susan Larrigan, were the only passengers in a BMW car that went out of control and crashed into a wooden pole on the M1 motorway, killing them both.
Attack victim Niall Dorr, of Avondale Park, is survived by his parents David and Veronica and older brother Shane.
The former St Mary's College student had been for an interview with the army just hours before the row. Con McGinley, the college principal, described him as a pleasant and courteous teenager.
"When you see a decent family like that get ripped apart by a tragedy like this your heart just goes out to them," he said.
Mr Dorr was also a member of the Cobra-Kan kickboxing club in Dundalk.
Patricia McQuillan, coach and founder of the club, said: "He was the most polite and best mannered of young people you could meet."
Six people have been arrested for questioning by investigating gardai, with a number of files sent to the DPP.
At the time of his death, Niall had been planning to do a sky-dive to raise funds for Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Dublin.
His father, David, said previously that the family were getting comfort from the fact that Niall's decision to carry a donor card saved the lives of five seriously ill people.
"They were able to take two kidneys, his pancreas, liver, lungs and heart," the heartbroken father said.