Belfast Telegraph

‘Significant evidence’ retrieved from container where Quinn chief Kevin Lunney was tortured

Abducted: Kevin Lunney
Abducted: Kevin Lunney

By Robin Schiller

Police in the Republic recovered "significant" forensic evidence from a container where they suspect Fermanagh businessman Kevin Lunney was tortured and beaten.

Detectives are making good progress in the investigation after a number of sheds and outhouses were searched in the Cavan area in recent days.

A main focus of the inquiry was a container near the village of Ballinagh where it is believed Mr Lunney was taken following his abduction last Tuesday night.

Specialist officers from Garda Headquarters were involved in examining the container and sources last night said that "significant forensic evidence" was recovered.

Officers were putting plans in place last night to use a crane to recover the container and seize it as part of their investigation.

"The container is being seized but due to its size, a crane will be brought in to recover it. This is the storage unit gardai believe Kevin Lunney was assaulted in," a source said.

The 50-year-old Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director was abducted from his home near Derrylin before being held captive for almost three hours, and was later dumped on the side of the road near Cornafean, Cavan.

He was beaten and sliced with a Stanley blade while some of his finger nails were also pulled.

After the attack he was found by a local contractor.

Gardai have already identified a number of suspects they believe were either directly involved or orchestrated the abduction and torture.

This includes a Cavan criminal who was captured on CCTV buying bleach which was poured over Mr Lunney in an attempt to destroy any forensic evidence.

Gardai have increased patrols near homes of QIH board members who have received threats, or have been targeted, following the abduction and assault of Mr Lunney.

QIH director and chairman John McCartin said Mr Lunney remains in Drogheda Hospital where he is "as good as you could expect him to be".

He said Mr Lunney was "happy with the progress" he was making following an operation on one of his legs and that he is not expected to have any further surgery.

Investigations are continuing into death threats made against QIH directors, as well as arson attacks and other sinister attacks on people connected to QIH.

A number of incidents have been reported to both gardai and the PSNI but to date no one has yet been interviewed.

QIH director and chairman John McCartin has confirmed he received five separate threats at face-to-face meetings with a man.

During Mr Lunney's ordeal his captors said he, Mr McCartin and the other three members of the management team would be shot if they didn't resign immediately.

After consulting with company directors, Irish justice minister Charlie Flanagan has asked that Garda chief Drew Harris investigate his force's responses during the five-year campaign of violence and intimidation which culminated with the terrifying attack on Mr Lunney.

The investigation of the previously reported threats will form a separate strand to the main investigation into the actual abduction and torture of Mr Lunney last week.

The investigation into last week's assault is also trying to establish the identity of the person or persons who directed the gang to carry out the attack.

Officers are satisfied that a crime gang with links to former Provisional IRA members was paid to carry out the attack on Mr Lunney as part of a campaign of intimidation against five senior executives from QIH.

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