herald

Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Missing drugs row led to man being knifed in head during coke session'

A home in The Crescent, Meadowvale, Arklow, where Stephen Kavanagh was fatally wounded
A home in The Crescent, Meadowvale, Arklow, where Stephen Kavanagh was fatally wounded

Detectives investigating the murder of a man in Wicklow believe he was stabbed multiple times in the head and torso by a man known to him.

The victim, named locally as Stephen 'Apples' Kavanagh, was knifed to death at a house in Arklow shortly after midnight yesterday.

Gardai are probing a theory that "missing drugs between the two men" might have led to the fracas.

The 37-year-old is believed to have been in a row with a 42-year-old man at the property before he was killed.

A woman known to both of them was inside at the time, but had no involvement and is believed to have been in a different room when the stabbing happened.

Wounds

Emergency crews were called to the home in the Crescent, Meadowvale, at around 12.30am. Mr Kavanagh was found with serious knife wounds and taken to St Vincent's Hospital in South Dublin.

However, shortly after 3am yesterday morning he was declared dead.

Gardai believe that Mr Kavanagh was stabbed with a household knife, which has since been recovered and will be examined.

"Kavanagh and the suspect were not very close pals or anything like that but they seemed to have hooked up over the weekend and went on a drugs session," a senior source said.

"At some stage late on Sunday night, they appeared to have got in a row over drugs that had gone missing from the session and this is what led to the murder," the source added.

A garda at the house where Stephen Kavanagh was knifed after a row in the early hours
A garda at the house where Stephen Kavanagh was knifed after a row in the early hours

The chief and only suspect in the case was not in the house when gardai were alerted to the bloody and tragic scene.

However, he presented himself to Arklow Garda Station shortly afterwards where it is understood that he was in an intoxicated state and was arrested.

Sources said that he was not fit for questioning until around 2pm yesterday and he remained in garda custody last night.

The suspect is known to gardai but had not come to their attention in recent years.

He has convictions going back over a decade.

These include forgery offences and possessing heroin for sale or supply.

Yesterday afternoon, gardai made door-to-door enquiries on the Meadowvale estate.

A large group of children played outside as members of the Garda Technical Bureau entered the house to carry out a forensic examination.

Parish priest Fr Michael Murtagh expressed his sympathies for the victim's family.

"This is a huge tragedy for the community to wake up to on a bank holiday Monday.

"This is a young man who should have been in the high productivity years of his life.

"My sympathies go out to the family and friends at the time of this tragedy," he said.

Locals yesterday suggested the victim did not reside there and the estate was usually quiet.

"I don't know the man at all - we've never heard of any trouble at that house before.

"I don't think he lived here," one said.

Schoolgirls

Mr Kavanagh, who was originally from the South Green area of Arklow, had been known to gardai.

However, locals insisted yesterday that he came from a "very decent" family.

He was previously given a six-month sentence after threatening a number of schoolgirls with a craft knife.

When he was aged 27 he was charged with producing an article in the course of a fight, possession of a knife and assault at the Riverwalk, Arklow, on June 12, 2007.

In evidence, one of his victims who was 17 at the time accused him of holding a blade to her face.

She alleged he then attacked her, pulled her by the hair and kicked her while she was on the ground. The victim told the court that the accused had held her down while another teenager hit her.

In 2016 he was given a 12-month suspended sentence for theft of more than €1,000 of tools and CDs.

During his sentencing hearing the court was told he had 71 previous convictions.

In a statement on the killing, gardai said yesterday they were combing the area for clues regarding the incident.

Appealed

They also appealed for anyone with inform ation to get in touch with them.

"The assistance of the Garda Technical Bureau has been requested and an incident room has been established at Arklow Garda Station," a spokesman said.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact Arklow Garda Station (0402-26320) or the Garda Confidential Line (1800 666 111).

"The investigation is ongoing."

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