‘MASTERMIND’ OF LUNNEY KIDNAP AND TORTURE DIES DURING RAID
‘Dublin Jimmy’ has heart attack in UK ‘safe house’
THE alleged mastermind behind the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney died in a British police swoop yesterday.
Cyril McGuinness, known as ‘Dublin Jimmy’, had a heart attack
when his Derbyshire ‘safe house’ was raided.
Gardaí simultaneously raided the home of a Dublin criminal McGuinness is believed to have hired to inflict the ‘sadistic’ beating on Mr Lunney.
These were just two of 18 raids in Counties Cavan, Longford, Dublin, the North and England yesterday, in an unprecedented move against the gang that attacked businessman Mr Lunney and who are still intimidating executives at Quinn International
Holdings. The Dublin criminal whose home was raided was hired by McGuinness to carry out the torture gardaí believe, and he is currently out on bail for serious crimes in Ireland and the UK.
He was helped by a gangland criminal linked to the Hutch crime gang, whose home was also raided yesterday, sources have revealed.
The Dublin duo were ‘paid well’ to abduct and torture Mr Lunney, on the order of McGuinness, well-placed sources have said.
More than 100 officers were involved, with 12 Garda raids, five by the PSNI and one in England.
A well-known gang was targeted in three searches in Co. Longford, including at two yards that operate as ‘chop shops’ – where stolen cars are processed – according to sources.
This gang are believed to have been hired by McGuinness to ‘dispense with’ at least one car used by the Dublin criminals in the attack on Mr Lunney.
While it is understood that no evidence was found in any of the cars used during the attack, detectives did recover parts from other stolen vehicles – up to half a dozen – during the Garda searches in Longford.
In Co. Cavan, armed detectives raided the homes and premises of a father and son suspected of providing the bleach used during the barbaric torture of Mr Lunney on September 17.
The pair had been closely linked to McGuinness and are well-known to gardaí.
The Dublin duo were ‘paid well’
They are also understood to have family links to the Longford gang.
While yesterday’s ‘day of action’ targeted those who were either directly involved or who organised the abduction, investigators are also concentrating on those who ordered the crime, according to the Garda Commissioner.
No arrests were made yesterday but evidence including laptops, mobile phones and documents were recovered.
Significant evidence at the ‘safe house’ in England where McGuinness had been staying is due to be forensically examined.
Commissioner Drew Harris said gardaí are investigating a number of facets to the crime, including the motivation for it.
At a media briefing with PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton the Garda chief said: ‘A series of 12 searches have been undertaken again today to advance the investigation of facets of this crime and that includes motivation, which is a subject of the investigation.
‘I would reiterate these are well-resourced investigations. They are proceeding, they are making progress – at the same time we’ve made a commitment to the policing of Co. Cavan and to assure the people of Co. Cavan that the rule of law will prevail. That’s another example of this today,’ said Commissioner Harris.
A joint Garda-PSNI team was also announced to provide a ‘robust’ investigation into the QIH attacks, which will also review previous incidents, in an effort to take retrospective action against those involved.
Mr Lunney was abducted from his car near his home in Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh, at around 6.40pm on September 17.
He was taken away and assaulted before being left at the side of the road at Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co. Cavan, some time before 9pm.
The QIH director had his neck cut with a blade during the ordeal. He also sustained a broken leg.
Mr Lunney, told BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme this week how he was bundled into a car boot at knifepoint by a gang of three men. He described in grim detail the appalling torture he suffered during the attack.
He was in the boot of the car when he overheard one of his captors talking on the phone to someone and addressing that person as ‘boss’.
In his graphic account of his ordeal at the hands of these thugs, Mr Lunney told how, after a hood was placed over his head and he was led to a horsebox, his captors told him they wanted him to resign from QIH. And even though he agreed to do that they went ahead and started to torture him .
‘One of them started with the Stanley knife on each of my fingers... he started to run the
Significant evidence at the safe house
Stanley knife under each nail quite hard and deep so each of them were bleeding a bit, deep enough that it was sore and painful,’ Mr Lunney told the programme.
The captors then poured bleach over Mr Lunney. ‘That was very, very sore [because of the cuts] then he started with a cloth and started to rub my hands, which were tied, rubbed them and rubbed them, really, really hard, and that was agony with the bleach,’ he said.
‘It was excruciating, the pain of the bleach – I was screaming, I think. Then they pulled me up and somebody said, “Have you done his face?” Next thing there was a squirt of bleach in my face, into my
eyes... there was a lot of fumes, I started to cough and almost passed out,’ he said. At this point, they told him again to resign from QIH, and they said the other directors should quit too.
‘I said: “I’ll tell them to resign”,’ he said.
He added that a number of times his torturer told him, ‘We know you, we have been watching you.’
At one stage he told Mr Lunney: ‘We have been watching you, we have seen you with your little daughter with the GAA top and you are going to do what we say.’
The businessman went on: ‘Then he said, “OK we believe you, but if you don’t we’ll be back, for you and all the family and everybody’s family”.’
Mr Lunney said his captors told him they ‘had to rough him up’.
He remembered one of them saying: ‘Hold out your leg,’ before Mr Lunney was badly beaten.
‘I think it was a either a baseball bat or a short fence post, and I heard [my leg] breaking and I roared. The pain was awful,’ he explained. The torturer then said to another gang member who was holding a torch, ‘Did that snap?’ The other man replied, ‘No’, so the attacker immediately hit it again. ‘It was a hundred times worse the second time,’ Mr Lunney
‘I roared, The pain was awful’
told the BBC programme.
Over 100 members of An Garda Síochána are now involved in the highly organised investigation team at Cavan Garda Station, including colleagues from the wider Cavan/Monaghan Garda Division, Regional Support Units, the National Support Service, Dog Units, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and the National Public Order Unit.
As the investigation continues, the gardaí have made an appeal to anyone who may have any information, no matter how insignificant it appears to be, to contact An Garda Síochána at Cavan Garda Station on 049 436 8800, at the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or at the Crimestoppers number on 1800 250 025 or at any Garda station.
The searches are a significant step in dealing with the campaign of violence and intimidation against Quinn Industrial Holdings. A QIH statement yesterday said: ‘The searches mark an important milestone in bringing those involved in attacks on QIH staff to justice. We encourage anyone with information to make contact with the gardaí or PSNI on a confidential basis.’
Scene of the crime: Gardaí near Kevin Lunney’s home after he was kidnapped and tortured in September
Terrible ordeal: Kevin Lunney
Sudden death: Cyril McGuinness, known as ‘Dublin Jimmy’ died after a heart attack in a police raid in Derbyshire