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Victim's pal held over mutilated body in canal

THIS is the criminal extradited over the murder of a 29-year old man whose dismembered body parts were discovered in an Amsterdam canal.

Our photograph shows murder suspect Philip County (28) partying with Keith Ennis just six weeks before Mr Ennis was stabbed to death, his body cut into pieces and dumped in a suitcase in a canal on the northern outskirtsof the Dutch capital. At the time of his murder, Mr Ennis was on the run from the Irish authorities, facing serious drugs and firearms charges.

The murdered Walkinstown man's family have always maintained that he was planning to return home to fight the charges.

Sources say that County, who has an address in Foxdene Gardens, Lucan and is formerly of Portarlington, Co Laois, became friendly with Ennis in the months before he was murdered.

County -- a convicted drug dealer -- was extradited to Holland from Ireland three weeks ago and is in a Dutch jail.



SEIZURE

He did not oppose the extradition order which was granted at the High Court, almost eight months after the Dutch authorities had first requested it.

It is understood that County has made two appearances in court in Holland and at the last hearing on Monday, judges ordered that he could he held in prison for a further 90 days while police there continue their investigations.

When contacted by The Herald, a spokesperson for the Dutch police said: "The suspect in this case is in restricted detention. He is only allowed to communicate with his lawyer."

County was extradited to Holland after serving a jail sentence in Mountjoy Prison in relation to a massive seizure of ecstasy tablets at an apartment in Park West in Dublin in December 2009.

Sources say that a number of bullet-proof vests were also seized in that raid.

At the time that Mr Ennis's body was found, there was speculation that he had been murdered by organised criminal gangs from Dublin. The two main theories were that he was butchered by thugs connected to international drugs god-father Christy Kinahan or the notorious Ballyfermot criminal Mark Desmond, who is nicknamed 'The Guinea Pig'.



INFORMER

This theory came about because Mr Ennis had been accused of tipping off gardai about a major drugs factory in Walkinstown in October 2007 after he was caught with cocaine, a Glock firearm and €16,000 in cash.

Mr Ennis's family have always insisted that he was not a garda informer and it is now believed that he was murdered over "a personal matter".

A source explained: "This murder was not related to gangland activity or the illegal drugs trade. It was a personal dispute that got very much out of hand."

Not long after being charged in relation to the drug offences in 2007, Mr Ennis went on the run and had been living in Holland for many months before his murder.

hnews@herald.ie


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