Forensic tests on suspected torture site of Kevin Lunney could take time

Forensic tests on suspected torture site of Kevin Lunney could take time
A large section of the road between Ballinagh and Lough Gowna in Co Cavan was closed off on Sunday as gardaí continued their search for evidence. Picture: Lorraine Teevan

Gardaí are cautioning that it could take some time before the results of their forensic examination of the suspected torture site of company executive Kevin Lunney become known.

A detailed examination of an old metal horsebox and surrounding land in rural Co Cavan is continuing as a Garda-PSNI investigation gathers momentum in its hunt for the criminal gang that kidnapped the chief operating officer of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH).

It comes as Garda Commissioner Drew Harris arrives in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, on Wednesday for the annual Garda-PSNI cross-border crime conference.

The conference is set to be dominated by the threats posed to policing and police cooperation by a looming no-deal Brexit, the national security threat posed by dissident republicans and the activities of cross-border crime gangs.

Gardaí suspect that one such criminal gang, linked to a convicted robber and former Provisional IRA man, is behind the kidnapping and beating of Mr Lunney.

Detectives are trying to establish why this gang carried out the attack.

Mr Lunney, aged 50, was kidnapped near his home in Kinawley, Co Fermanagh, at around 6.40pm last Tuesday. His body was dumped on a lane in the Cornafean area of Cavan just before 9pm that night.

Kevin Lunney
Kevin Lunney

The father of six was beaten and stabbed and had been doused in bleach in a bid to mask any DNA or other evidence of his attackers.

Gardaí made an initial breakthrough when they gathered CCTV footage identifying a suspect buying industrial bleach during the period Mr Lunney was abducted.

Gardaí began searching lands south of Cavan town, not far from Cornafean last Friday and just before lunchtime on Sunday launched a search operation in the nearby Drombade townland, outside the village of Ballinagh.

The Garda Technical Bureau is examining an old metal horsebox, the possible site of Mr Lunney's torture, while the Cavan-Monaghan Divisional Search team is searching a scrapyard and land surrounding the container.

The examinations continued all day today and are set to spill over into Tuesday.

Sources said that DNA and forensic samples gathered by the Technical Bureau could take some time to be examined by Forensic Science Ireland.

If FSI scientists can develop any profiles they can run it against their DNA database, which holds a section of DNA profiles of suspected offenders and convicted offenders, to see if they have any matches.

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