The brother of a student found murdered in a burnt-out mobile home has made a fresh TV appeal for help to find her killer before he strikes again.
Art student Emer O’Loughlin was 23 years old when her remains were found in the burnt-out mobile home of her neighbour, John Griffin, in a field between Tubber and Kinvarra in Co Clare on Apr 8, 2005. In RTÉ’s new series of Cracking Crime - Cold Cases, gardaí reveal they are still anxious to talk to John Griffin, who is believed to have faked his own death in the weeks after the murder.
After her body was exhumed in 2010, fresh evidence in a second autopsy revealed that the Clare woman died a violent death before the mobile home caught fire.
In RTÉ’s Cracking Crime, Emer’s older brother, Raymond O’Loughlin, said his family want to make sure her killer is caught so he can’t take another life.
He said: “I do feel angry because Emer’s killer is still out there and it could happen to another family.
“It’s not just about us. We will get our closure and our answers, but somebody else’s family could go through this again.
“We want closure, we want to able to say such and such happened no matter how bad it was. You just need to know. We need the people out there to help us find those answers.”
In the series, which re-examines cold cases, it is disclosed that Emer told her long-time boyfriend, Shane Bowe, that she had planned to charge her phone at a neighbour’s home on the morning of the Apr 8, 2005, before he went to work, as their electricity was gone.
Later that day, gardaí were called to the campsite in response to a call about a burnt-out mobile home and the discovery of human remains which were later identified through DNA testing as those of Emer.
Gardaí initially talked to John Griffin but the documentary reveals he told gardaí he had stayed overnight in Galway. Two weeks later, his clothes were found neatly stacked on a cliff top on Inishmore Island in Galway, although a body was never found.
The investigation was upgraded to murder in 2010 after a second autopsy found Emer died violently and, the following year, Crimestoppers issued a reward to anyone offering information on the whereabouts of John Griffin.
Det Supt Christy Mangan from the Serious Crime Review Team said that gardaí have launched an international search for John Griffin. “Investigating gardaí have circulated the descriptive particulars of John Griffin locally, nationally, and internationally, and he is sought for interview by gardaí,” he said.
“In the intervening years since the death of Emer O’Loughlin there have been a number of sightings of a person described as being John Griffin. One in particular was in Germany and was investigated, but to date none of the sightings have been substantiated.”
The family members of the bubbly young artist tell of their heartbreak at her death eight years ago. Her older sister, Pamela, said she set up a Facebook page about Emer in 2007 to keep her sister’s memory alive and to keep the investigation into her death in the public domain.
If you have any information, call the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, Crimestoppers on 1800 250 025, or the Serious Crime Review Team on 01 666 3444.
The new series of Cracking Crime – Cold Cases will be shown on RTE One at 9.35pm tonight.
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