THE DETECTIVE who led the Raonaid Murray murder inquiry today revealed the main suspect in the case.
The prime suspect is a local tradesman in the Dun Laoghaire area, known to carry knives.
Raonaid (17) was stabbed to death by her frenzied killer as she made her way home in Glenageary, south Co Dublin, in 1999.
Today Detective Inspector Eamon O'Reilly (pictured), who led the investigation into her slaying, said he believes the local man, now aged in his early 40s, is the prime suspect.
The murder suspect is also known to have a heroin habit.
Det Inspector O’Reilly (59), one of the Garda’s senior crime-fighters, says the case has haunted him like no other in his 39-year career.
Speaking just days after his retirement from Dun Laoghaire Garda station, Mr O’ Reilly said that he has not given up hope that the case can be solved.
“I arrested 13 suspects in this case – roughly half of them were from the Dun Laoghaire area but arrests were also made in Galway, Tipperary and the northside of Dublin,” he said.
“I believe that one of the men I arrested is certainly a credible suspect. He is a junkie, a local man, known to carry knives who was in the area at the time. The problem is that he was able to provide an alibi of sorts.
“This man would have known who Raonaid was – he would have been aged in his late 20s at the time of the murder and I still see him around the locality on occasion.
“He was arrested the year after the murder but there was not enough evidence to charge him.
“I believe that he may have known Raonaid because she used to regularly walk from her home to the Sandycove area to meet her friends and he would have observed her doing this.
“This man worked in a particular trade which meant he had a reason to carry knives on his person. He has a few criminal convictions for minor offences but has never been convicted of a serious crime,” said Mr O’Reilly.
“Apart from this man, I would stress that there is at least one other individual who has
been arrested who may have
“The problem for us on the investigation team was there was a gap of 20 minutes between Raonaid leaving Scott’s pub until she got to Corrig Avenue where she was spotted in an argy-bargy incident with a male.
“We had a very good witness who told us about this male in his mid 20s who had been involved in some kind of heated argument with Raonaid and we had another witness who heard a voice in the Silchester Crescent area at 12.10am on the night she was murdered.”
The vastly experienced detective was Ireland’s most senior detective inspector after spending 17 years in the role from his appointment in 1994.
“This is a case that means a lot to me. I gave it 12 years of my life and I worked on it day and night.
“I firmly believe that it can be brought to a successful conclusion. You never close a murder case and I know that new enquiries are happening on this case all the time.
“I was personally involved in another investigation in which a conviction was secured nine years after the murder happened. You never give up on these cases,” Mr O’ Reilly said.
Raonaid’s body was discovered by her elder sister, Sarah, on a road close to her home at Silchester Crescent, Glenageary, in the early hours of Saturday, September 4th, 1999.
She had been stabbed repeatedly and she bled to death in a laneway, known as ‘The Cut’, between Silchester Road and Silchester Crescent.
Raonaid had been socialising with friends at Scott’s Pub in Dún Laoghaire, having finished work as a shop assistant at 9pm on Friday. She was walking home through ‘The Cut’ around midnight when she was attacked.
A number of people have been questioned about the murder, but nobody has ever been charged.
Gardai have consistently appealed for information about a man and a woman who were seen close to the spot where Ms Murray was found dead but they have never come forward.
The man is described as having been in his 20s at the time, with short dark hair cropped at the sides. He was between 5’ 10 and 6ft, of slight build and wearing dark coloured trousers, not jeans.
The woman was in the vicinity of Silchester Park, between 12.20am and 12.30am, walking towards Adelaide Road. She was between 16 and 23 years, about 5’ 6 in height, with shoulder-length dark hair and dark clothing.
No murder weapon has ever been found and there was no evidence of sexual assault or robbery.