herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Melanie murder suspects try to thwart garda probe

THE two suspected killers of Melanie McCarthy McNamara were refusing to co-operate with gardai after being arrested by armed detectives.

DNA from the shotgun cartridges, as well as samples from gloves, scarf and a balaclava seized near the getaway vehicle, link the killers to the murder.

Sources say the 17-year-old and 23-year-old suspects were refusing to co-operate with officers.

The elder of the two tried to escape when ERU officers stormed their Athy, Co Kildare hideout yesterday.

"He was quickly brought to the ground and arrested," said a source. The pair had been under surveillance by undercover officers for days.

As first revealed in the Herald, the pair were caught on CCTV and identified less than 24 hours after the murder.

They have close links to a gang that vowed to avenge the murder of Tallaght drug- dealer Stephen O'Halloran, who was shot dead in January 2009.

Charges are expected in this case as early as tomorrow and gardai are not looking for anyone else in relation to murder.

Meanwhile gardai seized an abandoned car after receiving intelligence that it had been brought from Limerick to be used in a revenge attack on the suspects who are believed to have shot Melanie.

The car, which was seized at the Broadfield estate in Rathcoole, south Co Dublin, on Monday morning, is still being forensically examined.

Bombs

Sources say that gardai received specific information that the car contained guns and pipe bombs to be used to step up the gang war, which resulted in the drive-by murder of 16-year-old Melanie.

A detailed search of the Dublin-registered car failed to show up any guns or bombs and tests are now being carried out to establish if these items were ever in the vehicle.

"The information stated that a car was being kept at an offside location in a Rathcoole housing estate and that it contained weapons and other items which had been brought up from Limerick.

"Nothing was found in the car, so tests are being carried out to see if there ever were any weapons in it," a source explained.

The arrests and the car development comes after sources say that a viable pipe bomb that was discovered in Tallaght on Tuesday night "may well be linked to the same feud".

The Army Bomb Disposal team made safe the device which was discovered near a community centre in Oldbawn at about 11pm.

Both the Morans and tragic Melanie's family have family links to the dreaded McCarthy/Dundon gang.

Cocaine

The chief suspects for murdering Melanie are currently on bail for other gang-related crimes.

They are strongly linked to a west Dublin gang that has been dealing crack cocaine and crystal meth and has also been involved in a number of armed robberies.

A key member of the gang is the chief suspect for stabbing electrician Kevin Kenny (32) to death outside a Ballyfermot pub in early August.

The home of this suspect's younger brother was raided by armed gardai in Ballyfermot in the aftermath of Melanie's murder.

This man is the chief suspect for the gun attack last September on the Tallaght home of Michael 'Gunner Eye' Moran (47), the father of Melanie's partner Christy Moran (21).

kfoy@herald.ie

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