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Kenneth O'Brien murder: Gardai widen search as part of investigation into death of body in suitcase victim

By Ken Foy

Published 21/01/2016

Kenneth O'Brien's body was found in the Grand Canal at Ardclough in north Kildare
Kenneth O'Brien's body was found in the Grand Canal at Ardclough in north Kildare
The Garda sub aqua unit searching the Grand Canal
Members of the Garda at the scene near the village of Ardclough, Co Kildare, where a body was found inside a container dumped in the Grand Canal yesterday. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A coffin is taken from the scene near the village of Ardclough, Co Kildare, where a body was found inside a container dumped in the Grand Canal yesterday. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
The Garda sub aqua unit at the scene near the village of Ardclough, Co Kildare
Members of the Garda at the scene near the village of Ardclough, Co Kildare, where a body was found inside a container dumped in the Grand Canal yesterday. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Members of the Garda sub aqua unit at the scene near the village of Ardclough, Co Kildare, where a body was found inside a container dumped in the Grand Canal yesterday. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Gardai have widened their search close to where the Kenneth O’Brien's torso was found on Saturday but a murder location has still not been found.

A number of sheds and farmyards in Ardclough close to where the remains of the 33-year-old Dubliner were found are also being examined on Thursday.

A complex spiderweb of relationships involving the father and his personal life is being examined.

Threatening text messages and the phone records of the murder victim are at the centre of the garda investigation into his death.

Officers are working on the theory that the brutal murder may have been carried out by a man known to him whom he possibly met by arrangement, rather than gangland activity.

Gardai believe that the victim’s body was dismembered with either a chainsaw or a saw but a cause of his death has not yet been established.

Mr O’Brien, originally from Ballyfermot in west Dublin, was last seen alive when he left his Clondalkin home on Friday morning.

Forensic gardai spent all day yesterday at the property at Lealand Road and they removed a number of items from the house.

Other officers spent the day taking statements from people who knew the tragic father-of-one.

Sources said that officers were desperately trying to build a “full picture” of Mr O’Brien’s personality and relationships in an attempt to discover how he met such a grim fate.

“This involves taking statements off everyone who knew him and attempting to make contact with anyone who had been speaking with him in recent weeks.

“Everyone who knew Mr O’Brien will have to be looked at closely, that is the nature of this,” they said.

“Gardai are not following a definite line of enquiry at this stage, but it is being investigated whether he may have been killed by someone because of events in his personal life,” the source added.

The exact nature of the recent threats made to Mr O’ Brien were not disclosed but it is understood that he did not know his life was under threat.

However the property he lived at had CCTV cameras on it but it is not known when they were paced there.

Mr O’Brien was not known to officers for involvement in serious offences and his only convictions were for relatively minor driving offences a  number of years ago.

Sources said that gardai were “unaware” of underworld reports that suggested he may have been targeted by a notorious Clondalkin-based gang over an historical debt.

The mutilated remains of the dad-of-one, who had only moved back to Dublin from Australia in December were taken from the canal at Ardclough, Co Kildare, on Saturday.

It is understood that he only decided at Christmas to permanently move back to Ireland.

Mr O’Brien was identified at 3.30pm on Tuesday after a DNA sample taken from the torso matched a sample provided by a member of his family.

The mechanic and JCB driver was the father of a little boy. He vanished on Friday after telling his family he was heading down the country to do some work.

They reported him missing on Saturday evening, but by then his torso had been discovered by two walkers who saw a suitcase in the canal.

The murder investigation is being carried out by officers at Leixlip Garda Station, who continue to appeal for information.

It is expected that it will be a lengthy investigation which will involve the detailed analysis of mobile phone traffic in an attempt to establish who the victim had been communicating with.

Irish Independent

Irish Independent

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