Ireland

Crime scene investigation ‘casebook’ found in the home of one of the men accused of kidnapping businessman Kevin Lunney, court hears

A CRIME scene investigation “casebook” was found in the home of one of the men accused of kidnapping businessman Kevin Lunney, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

ardaí searching the accused’s apartment after Mr Lunney’s abduction and torture found a book entitled The Forensic Casebook – The Science of Crime Scene Investigation.

They also found a SIM card holder bearing the number of a phone alleged to have been in contact with the now-deceased suspected organiser of the kidnapping.

The trial of four men was continuing today at the non-jury court.

Mr Lunney (52), a Quinn Industrial Holdings director was bundled into a car outside his Co Fermanagh home and taken to a container where his captors broke his leg with a wooden bat, slashed his face with a stanley knife and doused his wounds in bleach while ordering him to resign from the company.

They carved “QIH” into his chest with the knife before dumping him, stripped to his boxer shorts, on a roadside in Drumcoghill, Co Cavan.

Darren Redmond (27), of Caledon Road, Alan O’Brien (40) of Shelmalier Road, both in East Wall, Dublin, and a man “YZ” (40), who cannot legally be named, are all alleged to have been directly involved in the attack.

Luke O’Reilly (67), from Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan is accused of providing “material assistance in the planning and execution of the offences”.

They all face the same charges of false imprisonment and causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17th, 2019, which they deny.

Today, Detective Garda Lisa Young told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, that she was part of the search team at YZ’s apartment in inner city Dublin on November 8, 2019.

In the main bedroom, she found what she described as a forensic casebook. Mr Guerin asked her what it was about.
“It’s in relation to the investigation of crime scenes,” she said, giving the title.

In cross examination, Michael Hourigan BL, for YZ, said the book was by Ngaire Genge, it was “a popular title you would find on Amazon or anywhere” and was “easily available”.

Det Gda Young said she was not aware of this but imagined it would be.

Det Sgt Brendan Casey told the court he took part in the same search and seized items including a bank statement for WOI Plant Hire Supplies Ltd, Clareville Grove, Dublin 11, in a kitchen drawer. He also seized an e-flow tag on a kitchen counter worktop.

In another kitchen drawer there were two Eir SIM card holders, one for a number ending -9717. The court has already heard the prosecution attributes this number to YZ and there are records of contacts between it and a number attributed to Cyril McGuinness, also known as Dublin Jimmy, the suspected organiser of the abduction.

Alan Smith, IT manager at Victor Treacy International, a freight ferry company, said a booking was made for a vehicle with a registration ending -PXU on an Irish Sea crossing on August 27, 2019. The person who booked the trip provided the name “C.McGuinness”.

The card and name was associated with an account for a company called Serbska International.

The court has previously heard a Renault Kangoo van with this registration was allegedly involved in Mr Lunney’s abduction.

Josh Webster, of Global Payments Ireland, a payment processing service, said a card associated with C. McGuinness was used to pay for the transaction on August 28.

Paul Kavanagh, owner of the test centre at Duleek Road, Drogheda, where gardaí found the Kangoo on October 23, 2019, said he had no knowledge of the van and had never seen it before that.

His mechanic, Colin McShane, said gardaí came to the yard with a warrant and found the Kangoo behind old scrap vans at the bottom of the yard. He had not known the van was there, had no contact details for the owner and had no idea when it came into the yard.

Det Constable Michael Askin of the PSNI was re-called for cross-examination. He told Mr Hourigan he went to Holyhead on November 22, 2019, to make enquiries about CCTV in relation to the investigation. He viewed footage from October 12 and saw a silver Mercedes e-class car and Cyril McGuinness, who was a person of interest to the investigation.

Det Const Askin had known Mr McGuinness for a number of years as he had been present at several road stops.

Daniel Ivers of Sports Direct was then asked by Mr Guerin to comment on clothes worn by men seen in CCTV footage purporting to depict some of the accused.

He described a black Under Armour top and Nike footwear worn by one man at the apartment block where the accused were alleged to have met on September 17, 2019. In a still photo taken through the windows of a Kangoo van later, Mr Ivers said he could see from the logos the driver was wearing an Adidas top and the passenger was wearing Under Armour.

In cross-examination, Karl Monahan BL, for Alan O’Brien, said Under Armour was a popular brand stocked by other major retailers.

There were 65 Sports Direct outlets and Mr Ivers agreed that across all these stores, around 338,000 of these items were sold every year.

He was not aware of the volume of competitors’ sales. Mr Ivers agreed that in stills from the van, the passenger’s top appeared to be grey.

Cross-examined by Mr Hourigan, he was not in a position to say whether the brands he could see were official or counterfeit.

Det Sgt Sharon Walsh said she went to Darren Redmond’s Caledon Road home after 7am on November 21, 2019. He was not there and she returned at 11.05am. She thought she knocked on the door and it was answered by Mr Redmond’s mother. She told Sgt Walsh her son was in an upstairs bedroom.

Sgt Walsh said she had power of arrest but “we were more or less invited in and there was no issue”.

She found Mr Redmond in the bedroom and told him she was arresting him on suspicion of assisting a criminal organisation. It was explained that they were investigating the abduction and false imprisonment of Mr Lunney, he was cautioned and made no reply.

He was taken to Irishtown garda station where his period of detention was extended before he was charged on November 26, with false imprisonment and causing serious harm. He made no reply and was brought to Virginia District Court that morning.

Mr Redmond’s defence is challenging the validity of his arrest.

In cross-examination, Det Sgt Walsh told Mark Lynam BL, for Mr Redmond, that the accused’s father answered the door on the first occasion. She told him she was empowered to go into the house and look for his son. His father said his son was not there. She said she did not see Mr Redmond come home before she called the second time and did not realise he was back.

Mr Redmond’s mother’s recollection was that there was no conversation before the gardaí ran up the stairs, Mr Lynam said. Det Sgt Walsh said she spoke to the accused’s mother in the sitting room and the people in the house were “fully aware” as they had been there earlier.

Objecting to the evidence, Mr Lynam argued that when exercising their power to enter the house and make an arrest, the gardaí had to tell the householders the purpose.

“It’s not enough to rely on the fact that they don’t complain,” he said.

The court will rule on this issue later.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh.

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