Net closes on pay­mas­ter in Lun­ney at­tack probe

Ev­i­dence seized as sus­pect dies af­ter raid

Irish Independent - - Front Page - Tom Brady, Robin Schiller and Ken Foy

THE NET is clos­ing on the ‘pay­mas­ter’ fi­nanc­ing the gang be­hind the Kevin Lun­ney ab­duc­tion af­ter po­lice re­cov­ered sig­nif­i­cant ev­i­dence in raids across three coun­tries.

The crim­i­nal sus­pected of or­gan­is­ing the at­tack, Cyril ‘Dublin Jimmy’ McGuin­ness (53), suf­fered a fatal heart at­tack when UK po­lice kicked in the door of his ‘safe house’ in Bux­ton, Der­byshire, yes­ter­day morn­ing.

The prop­erty was one of 18 searched by gar­daí, the PSNI and UK po­lice in what has been de­scribed as a “valu­able step in the ev­i­dence-gath­er­ing stage” of the probe.

And dur­ing a search of what McGuin­ness re­garded as his ‘safe house’, of­fi­cers re­cov­ered doc­u­ments and elec­tronic de­vices which could lead to a

break­through. McGuin­ness be­came ill dur­ing the raid at 7.30am. He col­lapsed and later died in hospi­tal. He is thought to have suf­fered a heart at­tack af­ter Der­byshire po­lice of­fi­cers, who were act­ing at the re­quest of the po­lice forces here, burst in through his front door.

McGuin­ness had be­lieved he could “lie low” in the house in Bux­ton un­til the in­ves­ti­ga­tion back here had scaled down.

One of­fi­cer said McGuin­ness had been taken com­pletely by sur­prise and there was no time for him to shred any of the po­ten­tial ev­i­dence.

McGuin­ness, who was known as ‘Dublin Jimmy’, had more than 50 crim­i­nal con­vic­tions in coun­tries in­clud­ing Ire­land, the UK, Ser­bia and Bel­gium.

Po­lice seized a large amount of doc­u­men­ta­tion as well as mo­bile phones and a lap­top. These will now be ex­am­ined as gar­daí and the PSNI build up a case to bring crim­i­nal charges against sus­pected mem­bers of the McGuin­ness-led gang and to un­mask the man who has been re­ferred to by Quinn In­dus­trial Hold­ings ex­ec­u­tives as the ‘pay­mas­ter’.

McGuin­ness is un­der­stood to have been hid­ing out in Bux­ton for a num­ber of weeks.

Orig­i­nally from Swords, Dublin, and later from Der­rylin, Co Fer­managh, he had been re­garded by gar­daí as the prime sus­pect for the ab­duc­tion of Mr Lun­ney.

Those tar­geted in­cluded McGuin­ness, sus­pected of or­ches­trat­ing the ab­duc­tion and as­sault of Mr Lun­ney, as well as those sus­pected of di­rect in­volve­ment in the bar­baric at­tack.

This in­cludes two crim­i­nals from Dublin’s north-in­ner city, one of whom is a sus­pect in a re­cent city mur­der, who had their homes searched as part of the ma­jor in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­ing led by gar­daí in the Ca­van/Mon­aghan Di­vi­sion.

They are be­lieved to have been hired to carry out the at­tack by McGuin­ness.

More than 100 of­fi­cers were in­volved in the searches in Dublin, Long­ford, Ca­van, Fer­managh as well as Der­byshire.

No ar­rests were made yes­ter­day as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the as­sault on Kevin Lun­ney on Septem­ber 17.

Garda Com­mis­sioner Drew

Har­ris said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a num­ber of facets to the crime in­clud­ing the mo­ti­va­tion be­hind it.

The Garda chief, speak­ing at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s head­quar­ters along­side the PSNI’s As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Mark Hamil­ton yes­ter­day, said: “A series of 12 searches has been un­der­taken to­day again to ad­vance the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of facets of this crime and that in­cludes mo­ti­va­tion.”

A joint Garda-PSNI team was also an­nounced to pro­vide a “ro­bust” in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the QIH at­tacks.

Mr Lun­ney (50), a fa­ther of six, was ab­ducted from his Co Fer­managh home be­fore be­ing brought to a con­tainer in Ca­van where he was beaten, sliced and had bleached poured over him in an or­deal last­ing over two hours.

The om­buds­man for the UK po­lice has also con­firmed it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the death of Cyril McGuin­ness.

The raids car­ried out yes­ter­day were also wel­comed by QIH, which said it marked “an im­por­tant mile­stone in bring­ing those in­volved in at­tacks on QIH staff to jus­tice”.

The di­rec­tors have also re­fused an of­fer to meet mem­bers of the Quinn fam­ily, who have re­peat­edly con­demned the at­tacks. Seán Quinn Jnr made the of­fer to meet QIH ex­ec­u­tives, in a state­ment to BBC ‘Spot­light’.

The QIH di­rec­tors re­fused of­fer to meet the Quinn fam­ily

PHOTO: COLLINS

Crim­i­nal: Cyril McGuin­ness was the main sus­pect in the kid­nap and tor­ture of Kevin Lun­ney (in­set).

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