Gardaí intervene after angry mob gathers at home of murder suspect
A suspect in the gruesome murder of a teenager last year “could have been seriously harmed or even worse” had gardaí not intervened in a tense situation in Drogheda, Co Louth last night, senior sources say.
A crowd of around 40 people, some of whom are friends of the murdered 17-year-old, gathered outside a house at around 8pm and senior sources said there were fears that the property was going to be burned down and its occupants attacked.
As more and more people arrived at the scene, some protestors shouted abuse at the murder suspect and also at gardaí who moved to disperse the crowd.
A large number of unarmed gardaí responded to the tense situation and the murder suspect, along with a number of his innocent relatives, were removed from the property and brought to the local garda station.
“They were taken to safety and he was given detailed security advice which included advice that he stay out of Drogheda,” a senior source said.
“He is supposed to be staying at an address in Dublin and there is no doubt that this would be a far safer option for him, but he was in Drogheda visiting close family members.
“The belief is that he could have been seriously harmed or even worse had gardaí not responded to the situation which went on for a few minutes and was escalating.
“There is no doubt that he was a relieved man to get out of there,” the source added.
The tense scenes were filmed by people at the scene and then distributed on social media.
The suspect’s home was previously badly damaged in a petrol-bomb attack when he was arrested last month by officers probing the shocking murder.
Yesterday it emerged that gardaí expect to make a number of new arrests in the coming months – including suspects who are currently serving jail sentences – in relation to the murder of the teenager whose dismembered body parts were found in two locations in Dublin on this week last year.
Two men have already been charged in connection with the murder of the 17-year-old who cannot be currently named for legal reasons.
“There will be more arrests in this investigation and the expectation is that suspects will be brought out of prison. This remains a massive investigation and more charges are expected,” a senior source said.
The chief suspect in the case was notorious north Dublin gangster Robbie Lawlor who was shot dead last April in Belfast.
Meanwhile, senior sources say that gardaí continue to closely monitor the activities of criminals involved in the deadly Drogheda feud which has claimed four lives with officers having major success against the feuding mobs over the past year.
Officers received intelligence that a 22-year-old criminal who is a key player in the so-called ‘Anti-Maguire’ faction in the feud was due to fly home from his Mexican hideaway over the Christmas period, but he never arrived back into the country.
“An alert was put in place but there was no sighting of him. He was probably best advised as he would be arrested on sight as there are outstanding warrants out for him,” the source said.
He fled Ireland with his 25-year-old gang boss brother almost a year ago in the chaotic aftermath of the brutal murder of the teenager, but neither man is a suspect in that case.
They are mortal enemies of the gang led by paralysed mob boss Owen Maguire who was left with life-altering injuries after being shot multiple times by Robbie Lawlor in 2018.
Since last January’s murder, gardaí have continued with a major clampdown on the feuding gangs with €1.2 million worth of drugs and €1.5 million in cash seized in Co Louth in the past year – 200 people were arrested for drug dealing.
In Drogheda alone, 95 drug-dealing suspects were arrested and over €500,000 worth of drugs were seized in the Co Louth town under Operation Stratus.
“Gardaí keep on plugging away at these gangs and seizures are being made every week,” the senior source.
“It is not always seizures that get national headlines but they are often very significant on a local level. For example, in the most recent surveillance operation, €2,500 in drugs were seized at a house in Dunleer on Tuesday and this would be typical of what is constantly going on.
“Every day gardaí are attempting to chip away at the gangs – out of the 95 drug-dealing arrests in Drogheda in the past year, it seems pretty much an arrest ratio of 50:50 between both factions,” the source added.