The Garda investigation into the murder of Kenneth O’Brien is gathering apace after human limbs were discovered along the Grand Canal.
The limbs, which were found inside a number of bags, were sent for autopsy and DNA analysis to confirm if they are the remains of the 33-year-old father from Clondalkin, west Dublin.
Gardaí hope to get the results this morning and will wait to see if the tests also give an indication as to the cause of Mr O’Brien’s death.
The bags were discovered on the canal at Sallins, Co Kildare, some 10kms from where Mr O’Brien’s torso was recovered in the waters at Ardclough village last Saturday week.
Gardaí also conducted a search at the Grand Canal at Fonthill in Clondalkin, Dublin, and another near the Royal Canal in Maynooth, Co Kildare.
Meanwhile, the investigation team is continuing its search for the location or locations where Mr O’Brien was murdered and dismembered.
Superintendent Gerry Wall, who is leading the investigation, said a passerby alerted them to a bag at Sallins on Sunday evening.
He said they dispatched a technical team to preserve the scene. He said the Garda Underwater Unit conducted searches yesterday morning and located other bags.
It is thought as many as three plastic bags, containing limbs, were recovered.
Supt Wall said the remains were sent to the mortuary at Naas General Hospital and that he may be in a position today to confirm if they are those of Mr O’Brien.
He said the victim’s family was traumatised: “They are enduring a very serious, stressful time in their lives that nobody would wish anybody would have to suffer or endure.
“They have lost a loved one, a son, a partner, a father, a brother, and a cousin. It is indeed a very traumatic time for them.”
Supt Wall appealed to people using the stretch of the canal at Sallins, who saw anything suspicious, to get in contact gardaí.
The investigation team, based at Leixlip Garda Station, has made significant progress since the grim discovery of the torso 10 days ago.
Based on the condition of the torso, they were able to determine the man had died within the previous couple of days and suspected the torso was dumped at Ardclough overnight last Friday week.
After Mr O’Brien’s girlfriend reported him missing, gardaí were able to identify the remains through DNA comparisons.
Supt Wall described their investigation yesterday as “wide ranging” with “extensive lines of inquiry”, with some 300 inquiries underway.
Initially, gardaí thought there was no link to organised crime and suspected the murder was due to some personal dispute.
While gardaí continue to keep an open mind, they now suspect a gangland link and that perhaps Mr O’Brien became embroiled with a serious criminal outfit from the Clondakin/Ballyfermot region.
They are investigating if Mr O’Brien invested money, unknowingly or otherwise, into a criminal enterprise and that he was killed before he got his money back.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin yesterday said gardaí were determined to “bring the perpetrators of this brutal murder before the courts”.
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