THE international police agency, Interpol, has issued an alert for an Irishman suspected of murdering a student on the Clare-Galway border over five years ago.
John Griffin, 43, is wanted by gardaí investigating the death of 23-year-old Emer O’Loughlin, whose remains were found in a burned-out caravan on April 8, 2005.
Detectives believe Griffin faked his own death after Ms O’Loughlin’s death.
The Garda investigation made a major breakthrough last May after an exhumation and second postmortem revealed knife marks to Ms O’Loughlin’s neck. The discovery was made thanks to advances in forensic technology and following a review of the case by the Garda specialist “cold-case” unit.
These developments led to Interpol issuing a “Wanted” notice for John Griffin, stating that his location was sought by Ireland to assist in their investigation.
It said: “Griffin is suspected of murdering a young woman in Galway, Ireland, in April 2005. The body of the 23-year-old victim was discovered in a burned-out caravan where she had been living.
“It is suspected that Griffin set fire to the caravan after breaking in and assaulting the woman.
“In the days following the attack, Griffin allegedly travelled to a nearby island where he was seen on a cliff top. Items of Griffin’s clothing were later found at the location. However, police believe that Griffin may have attempted to fake his own death and is now hiding from authorities.”
Interpol said Griffin was believed to be in Britain, Germany, Spain or the Netherlands. The notice said Griffin was known to have travelled from London to Germany in 2005, but his current whereabouts were unknown. It said he may also be known as Fozzy Griffin, John B Griffin or John McDermott.
Ms O’Loughlin, an art student at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, was from Ennistymon, Co Clare, but had lived in a mobile home at Ballybornagh, Tubber, Co Clare, for a few years before her death.
Gardaí were unable to determine the exact circumstances of her death and the investigation was stymied.
The Garda Serious Crime Review Team – which examines so-called cold cases – looked at her case just before Christmas.
The post mortem was carried out by assistant state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis and forensic anthropologist Dr Lorraine Buckley. This revealed the art student had suffered some sort of knife marks around the neck vertebrae.
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