Thursday 17 January 2019

PJ Browne: Two of the worst thugs I've ever come across

OVER the course of my 37 years in An Garda Siochana I encountered many violent criminals.

But few were as dangerous as the Brothers Grim -- Warren and Jeffrey Dumbrell.

I have said before and I will always maintain that these animals are two of the greatest thugs who ever terrorised the streets of Dublin.

And today they are where they belong and where they should stay -- firmly behind bars. It took two trials to do it but rest assured justice has been served and the streets of Inchicore are a safer place today.

It takes a certain type of sick and violent individual to murder a man in front of his wife and children. There is no honour among any criminals but carrying out a killing in this fashion requires, frankly, a psychopathic mindset. And that's what this pair has.

From day one, shortly after we received the call that a murder had taken place in Inchicore, they were the chief suspects.

Christy Cawley had been stabbed six times in front of his family and neighbours at Tyrone Place, leading to a massive manhunt for the two brothers.

Jeffrey and Warren Dumbrell hailed from Emmet Road and both had a criminal past as have other members of their family -- Leonard, Leroy and Tommy. Jeffrey was the offspring of a different father to Warren.

The background to the murder was a grudge. During the course of a few years several disputes occurred between Christy Cawley and another Dumbrell brother called Tommy. It gathered a little momentum but mostly it was of the verbal type. Shouting and roaring matches on buses counted for a lot of it.

But in August of 2006 an altercation took place between the two and it became more fractious thereafter, continuing until the day of October 29, 2006 when a duel was offered by Christy Cawley to Tommy Dumbrell.


The deal was that both of them would contest battle on the waste ground near Tyrone Place to sort things out for once and for all.

Christy Cawley was on the waste ground at the appointed time of 8pm and his young children with their friends were close by playing and chatting.

Tommy Dumbrell, presumably because of his cowardice, did not appear.

But his two brothers turned up and when Christy Cawley saw them approach he told one of them that he did not want a row with them.

Some witnesses say that one of the brothers produced an implement like a hurley. Christy ran for the sanctuary of his own home but as he got to the stairwell of the block of flats he fell. Witnesses also saw that the other Dumbrell brother slipped a knife from his sleeve.

The brothers came upon Christy Cawley as he lay on the ground and laid into him. In the violent attack Christy Cawley received blows from the hurley and he was stabbed six times in the leg and body. Three of his six children witnessed the minute-long attack.

The two brothers ran from the flats and after hiding for the night made their way to Dundalk in Co Louth.

I was the detective superintendent in charge of the area and after visiting the scene with a number of my team a major murder investigation began. As many witnesses as could be found on the night were interviewed and nearly all named the Dumbrell brothers as the assailants.

After a few days of investigation information came to hand that the brothers had gone to Dundalk.

They were located and arrested on suspicion of the murder of Christy Cawley.

The brothers were charged with murder in 2006, and tried and convicted in 2008.

The Court of Criminal Appeal quashed the conviction and they were re-tried this month, over four years after the stabbing.

Today I would like to congratulate Mrs Janet Cawley and her family as well as her neighbours for their courageous evidence, and extend my sympathies to them once more.

They have waited some time for justice and it was served in court yesterday.

With his previous history Warren will be lucky to be out in 20 years, and he may well serve more. The same applies to his brother.

PJ Browne is a retired detective superintendent who led the investigation into the murder of Christy Cawley

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