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Remains in recycle plant identified as homeless alcoholic

Gardai have identified the remains found in a Dublin waste-disposal plant more than three months ago as that of a 37-year-old south Dublin man.

The remains that were found at the Thornton's Waste Recycling facility on Ballyfermot's Killeen Road on July 31 were confirmed yesterday as Mark Burke, whose last address was in Dun Laoghaire.

Mr Burke, who is understood to have suffered from severe alcoholism and was known to gardai for minor offences, last lived at Bentley House, a sheltered accommodation complex for homeless people.

Sources said he was originally from the Sandyford area of south Dublin and was identified through DNA.

It is not known when Mr Burke was last seen. His family reported him missing recently, and yesterday asked for privacy.

"Gardai are appealing for anyone, particularly those who knew Mark, who may have information regarding his movements during July 2014, to contact Ballyfermot Garda Station," a garda spokesman said.


Sources said gardai believe Mr Burke was murdered and his body cut into pieces. It is not known how he was killed.

In September it was revealed that the killer may have submerged his dismembered limbs in an acid bath or lime mixture in the hope they would be stripped to the bone.

No part of the Mr Burke's face, teeth or hands have been found, which made positive identification very difficult, but the case was cracked earlier this week.

The alarm was first raised when a Thornton's worker was sorting rubbish and found part of a human leg.

The plant was shut down immediately and a search by gardai through more than 1,000 tonnes of rubbish uncovered more of the leg, other pieces of flesh and part of the skull.

Gardai appealed to surgeons based on the fact that the victim had undergone bilateral craniotomies - a surgery arising from serious head trauma.

They said it was possible the man suffered neurological problems in the aftermath, such as seizures or epilepsy.