Major gangland criminal arrested in connection with disappearance and murder of Paul ‘Frank’ Byrne
The feared gangland criminal is a person of ‘major interest’ in the investigation
Today at 21:56
A major gangland criminal is in custody tonight in connection with the 2009 disappearance and murder of Paul ‘Frank’ Byrne.
Paul ‘Frank’ Byrne (20) was last seen on July 15, 2009 at Kilmartin Green in Tallaght. His skeletal remains were found in a remote forest near Blessington Co Wicklow a year later and the case has been the focus of a murder investigation since.
This morning, gardaí arrested a person of “major interest” in the investigation after he arrived back into the country from the UK.
The suspect, from Tallaght, is a feared gangland criminal who has served a significant sentence for drug dealing offences.
While serving a jail sentence for these drug offences in Ireland, he absconded from prison and went on the run for a number of years before being apprehended in the UK and returned to jail.
It is understood that, after he completed his sentence, he spent a lot of time in the UK before his arrest in Dublin this morning.
A source said: “The arrested individual is suspected of playing a key role in this murder.”
The victim vanished after he got into a car with two men in front of his house.
His mother reported him missing to gardaí in Tallaght.
Over a year later, Mr Byrne’s remains were discovered by a forestry worker in Co Wicklow.
His remains were found in a remote area at Ballyfolan, Blessington in County Wicklow on July 29, 2010.
Identification of his remains was made by way of DNA profile and the investigation was taken over by gardaí in Baltinglass Garda Station.
Today’s arrested was the fifth arrest in connection with the investigation.
A garda spokesperson said: “The man was arrested this morning, Monday, in the Dublin area.
“He was taken to Baltinglass Garda Station where he is currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, as amended.”
The first major breakthrough in the case happened in June 2015, when a 22-year-old Tallaght man was arrested and questioned about his knowledge of the murder.
He was released from Bray Garda Station without charge. A file was later sent to the DPP but no charges have ever been directed against any of the previous four suspects arrested.
In 2015, Mr Byrne’s mother, Ashely Dempsey, told the Herald that she welcomed the arrest, but said she was disappointed that there were no criminal charges in the long-running case.
“I would like to thank the police for their ongoing work in the case, but there are loads of people out there who know what happened to my son, but they won’t say anything.
“I am appealing for these people to come forward even at this stage, after the sixth anniversary of Paul’s murder,” Ms Dempsey said.
It is understood that the same gang murdered drug dealer Stephen O’Halloran, who died in a hail of bullets while sitting in a parked car outside his home in January 2009.
David Patchell of Rossfield Crescent, Tallaght, was convicted of the murder in April, 2011.