Gardai begin dig in Dublin park for body of rapist James Nolan
Gardai have begun digging in a Dublin park for the remains of rapist James Nolan who vanished over six years ago.
The search began in Tolka Valley Park, Finglas at 7am for Nolan, whose arm washed up on Dollymount Strand in 2011.
It is believed Nolan, from Finglas, was strangled to death by his killer in Glasnevin Cemetery before his body was brought to an address in north Dublin and dismembered.
Officers are carrying out fresh investigations because of details left in a 21-page suicide letter written by Nolan's suspected killer and sent to family members.
After dismembering the body, the killer then disposed of most of Nolan's body parts in Co Monaghan and at Tolka Valley park, which is popular with walkers.
The area where gardaí are searching this morning is at a steep bank alongside the Tolka river. It was sealed off at 7am this morning and officers have informed the victim's family.
A source said gardaí have identified the "area of interest" after examining the contents of the letter.
A thorough planning exercise has taken place and gardaí have been drafted in to take part in the extensive search operation. A temporary structure will be placed on the site so that gardaí can maintain the area on a 24/7 basis.
The site of the search will be cordoned off and the particular area will be restricted.
It is understood that Nolan's arm that was found washed up at Dollymount Strand had been thrown into the Tolka River and then washed out to sea.
The author of the suicide note which has sparked the search is a very close associate of Nolan and is the chief suspect in the case.
An inquest previously heard that the rapist's arm was found by a man walking his dog on February 8, 2011.
State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy said that Nolan's arm was "cleanly" severed post-death using a very sharp knife and tattoos had been cut from the skin.
He was identified using a DNA sample taken from the arm which matched a DNA profile on a UK police database.
Nolan had been arrested at Holyhead in 2004 when he was found using a forged driving licence and details and DNA were taken at the time.
The photograph and fingerprints were also cross-referenced with the Garda database.
Nolan's last known whereabouts were when he collected methadone from the Wellmount Clinic in Finglas on November 30, 2010.
Nolan had been missing since shortly after he was released from Portlaoise Prison having served a three-year sentence there for burglary in Booterstown, south Dublin, in 2005.
In 1986 he was jailed for 14 years when he was convicted of rape and false imprisonment.
The 1986 attack is considered one of the most violent to have ever happened in Ireland and the victim was brutally attacked in front of her partner.
That rape incident is being probed as a possible motive for Nolan's gruesome murder even though his suspected killer was not present on the night.
"One theory coming from the letter is that Nolan's killer murdered him because he was absolutely disgusted about the rape but there are other theories as well," a source told Independent.ie in January.
These include reports that James Nolan received a cash windfall after his release from prison but he refused to help out his killer financially and a major row occurred.
Another prominent theory being investigated is that Nolan had been stealing money from an elderly woman known to both of them.
In January it emerged that gardai in Co Monaghan spent two days searching a lake in the county after a relative of Nolan's passed on the suicide letter to gardai.
In the letter, the man is believed to have described butchering Nolan before dumping some of his remains in Lough na Glack lake near Carrickmacross.
Gardai believe the letter's author became concerned after a search was carried out in the lake for the remains of a Polish national the previous week.
He took his own life after writing the note.