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Van ‘used in Lunney kidnap’ burnt in fire

Vehicle destroyed by blaze while under Garda care, court is told

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Trial: Businessman Kevin Lunney

Trial: Businessman Kevin Lunney

Luke O’Reilly leaves court after an earlier appearance. Credit: Niall Carson

Luke O’Reilly leaves court after an earlier appearance. Credit: Niall Carson

A Garda cordon near one of the crime scenes. Credit: Kyran O'Brien

A Garda cordon near one of the crime scenes. Credit: Kyran O'Brien

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Trial: Businessman Kevin Lunney

The van suspected to have been involved in the kidnapping of businessman Kevin Lunney was destroyed in a fire while being stored by gardaí, Dublin’s Special Criminal Court has heard.

The Renault Kangoo allegedly used by Mr Lunney’s assailants to travel from Dublin to Cavan and back on the day of the abduction on September 17, 2019 at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, was destroyed in a blaze at a secure facility after it had been forensically examined.

The Quinn Industrial Holdings director (52) was bundled into a car outside his Co Fermanagh home and taken to a container where his captors tortured him while ordering him to resign from QIH. They then dumped him, stripped to his boxer shorts, on a roadside in Co Cavan.

Darren Redmond (27), of Caledon Road; Alan O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road, both in East Wall, Dublin, and a man “YZ” (40), who cannot legally be named, are all alleged to have been involved.

Luke O’Reilly (67), of Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan, is accused of providing assistance. All deny the charges,

Detective Sergeant Kieran Regan said on October 23, 2019, he received information about the location of the Kangoo van and got a warrant to search Paul Kavanagh Motor Factors, Duleek, Co Meath.

Det Gda Regan did not think the worker he spoke to knew whose van it was. It was moved to the technical bureau compound in Santry.

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Cross-examined by Michael O’Higgins SC, for YZ, Det Sgt Regan agreed that “later on down the line, there was a fire and the vehicle was destroyed”.

The court has heard this happened while the van was later being stored at Ted Brennan Motors, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan. Detective Garda Ursula Cummins of the technical bureau said on October 29, 2019, she went with a doctor from Forensic Science Ireland to examine the van while it was still in Santry.

The doctor pointed out a number of areas of interest to her and she took swabs and tape lifts. In cross-examination, Mr O’Higgins referred to Det Gda Cummins’ notes and suggested that she examined the car on October 29, but returned on October 31, when the doctor was there and pointed out areas of interest.

She accepted this might have been the case. There was no record in the notes of what she did on October 29 but she told the court she would have done swabs then and the doctor pointed out the areas of interest on the second date.

Mr O’Higgins asked if she had been surprised she had not seen a mark on the door on the first date and she said the van had been “very grubby”.

Mr O’Higgins put it to her she did not see the mark on October 29 because “it wasn’t there”. She replied: “No, it was there.” Mr O’Higgins asked how she could know that if she did not see it.

Detective Garda Ernie Frazer of the fingerprint section said he examined the Kangoo on October 29 and the results were negative.

The court then heard from witnesses who had owned and sold a black Audi, including one from a man who sold it to an individual accompanied by a man the witness knew as ‘Dublin Jimmy’. Dublin Jimmy’s real name was Cyril McGuinness, who gardaí suspect organised the kidnap.

The prosecution maintains Mr Lunney was abducted in a black Audi.


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