herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Man questioned over bookie's 1990 ambush murder is chief suspect in killing two years ago

Dessie Fox’s wife Bernadette and brother Brian lay a wreath in memory of the murdered man
Dessie Fox’s wife Bernadette and brother Brian lay a wreath in memory of the murdered man

A man being quizzed over the unsolved murder of bookie Dessie Fox is also a chief suspect in one of the country's most gruesome killings.

Detectives are continuing to question two men, aged 50 and 61, who were arrested yesterday morning in relation to the Tyrone man's murder nearly 28 years ago.

Mr Fox was shot dead in an ambush near Prosperous, Co Kildare, on September 30, 1990, by a suspected subversive gang with links to the IRA.

Firearms

The Herald can reveal that one of the men arrested yesterday is also the chief suspect in a murder in the east of the country two years ago.

That killing - the details of which cannot be disclosed for legal reasons - was carried out in 2016 and the suspect was previously quizzed in relation to it.

The suspect was arrested yesterday at a west Dublin prison and taken to Leixlip Garda Station for questioning.

A 61-year-old man currently being questioned is believed to have organised the ambush and murder of Mr Fox.

He was only recently released from jail and has been convicted of IRA membership as well as firearms offences dating back to the 1980s.

It is understood he has lived in the capital for some years, but is originally from Northern Ireland.

He was detained in the Tall-aght area yesterday morning, and is currently being held at Naas Garda Station.

Gardai have described yesterday's arrests as significant. Both men can be detained for a period of up to three days.

The breakthrough came following inquiries by gardai in the Kildare division, supported by detectives from the force's cold-case unit, known as the Serious Crime Review Team.

Gardai suspected the 1990 murder was carried out by subversives from both sides of the border.

Mr Fox, who was from Dungannon, was ambushed and robbed by a gang at Healy's Bridge, near Prosperous, where his car was forced to stop.

The 47-year-old was shot in the thigh and the bullet severed an artery. He bled to death at the scene.

Nearly 20 people have been arrested as part of the murder investigation, while 500 statements have been taken and more than 1,500 people have been interviewed.

Yesterday's arrests involved officers working under the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

"Investigating gardai continue to appeal for information in this case and believe that a number of people have yet to come forward who may now be in a position to assist in bringing those responsible to justice," a spokesman said yesterday.

Shattered

Mr Fox's daughter, Lorna O'Mahony, who was 15 at the time of the murder, has said the lives of her mother and sisters had been shattered by his death.

"We miss him every day, we miss talking to him, asking his advice, sharing our day-to-day lives with him," she said.

"We lost so much that day, and so did my dad. He has missed seeing us grow up, start jobs, get married, and have our own children, his grandchildren.

"We believe there are people out there who know what happened to my dad."

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