Relatives face delay over release of body of Irishman shot dead in Spain

THE family of Irishman John O’Neill fear his body will not be returned to Ireland for weeks because it is part of an ongoing Spanish police investigation.

Mr O’Neill’s sister Sharon, speaking on the eve of the now-postponed wedding that the 40-year-old father-of-two had travelled to Spain to attend, said grieving relatives were concerned there may be no way to avoid the delay.

The innocent plasterer – who was shot twice outside Coco’s bar in the Arroyo de la Miel area of Benalmadena at 3am on Wednesday – had been on holiday with his partner Maxine, three-year-old son Jake and nine-month-old daughter Jasmine, when the incident occurred.

All three are still in Spain while police continue with their inquiries.

They are being assisted by Sharon – who flew out yesterday – while a judge in the Torremolinos area of Spain issued an international arrest warrant for Darren O’Flaherty in connection with the murder.

A native of Liverpool, 35-year-old O’Flaherty is the main suspect in the shooting of the Irishman.

Spanish police sources have confirmed the identity of the man, while a spokesman for north Yorkshire police in Britain said they have been asked to provide information on O’Flaherty to Spanish authorities.

O’Flaherty has a history of violent crime and has been on the run from British police since being charged in connection with a €400,000 robbery and conspiracy to kidnap case in 2006 as part of an 11-strong gang.

O’Flaherty also received a five-year sentence for grievous bodily harm in 1995, after stabbing a man who was lying on the ground nine times in the back with a pen-knife, causing injuries which included a collapsed lung.

His other offences involved assaulting a police officer, causing severe head injuries; dangerous driving with intent to damage and assaulting a police informer.

O’Flaherty is understood to have been living in the Benalmadena area of the Costa del Sol with his girlfriend since 2006.

Neither have been seen at their apartment since Dublin father-of-two Mr O’Neill was shot dead on Wednesday morning.


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