Garda chief appeals to the public for information on ‘man in suitcase’ death
By Brendan Grehan
GARDAÍ INVESTIGATING the murder of Clondalkin man, Kenneth O’Brien (33), whose torso was found in the Grand Canal in a suitcase on Saturday, were yesterday searching the house in Lealand Road where he lived.
The Garda Technical Bureau were carrying out an examination of the residence in Clondalkin on Wednesday.
A number of items were taken from the house for examination by gardaí.
The Garda team is still trying to establish why anybody would have wanted Mr O’Brien dead.
Local TD and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald described the case as “shocking” and “most distressing”.
Asked about the progress of the garda investigation she replied: “That’s an operational matter for the Gardaí. Obviously it’s a most distressing case and I won’t comment further on it. Obviously it’s a shocking case and incredibly sad and distressing for the family.”
Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan described the murder as “gruesome”.
The garda chief offered the sympathies of the force to the O’Brien family.
She said: “I would like to take the opportunity to appeal to anybody that may have information no matter how small or unimportant they may think it is. We are very anxious to hear from anybody who has any information they can offer to help us identify the perpetrators of this awful crime.”
Mr O’Brien had been living in Australia and was working there as a mechanic until last month while his partner and the couple’s young son remained in the Republic.
It understood he was living with them in Clondalkin, Dublin, since his return from Australia until his disappearance last week.
Witnesses told gardaí Mr O’Brien had informed family members he was “going down the country” for a short period to work.
When efforts to contact him by phone on Thursday and Friday failed, a member of his extended family reported him missing.
After the torso was found on Saturday, gardaí suspected it may have been that of Mr O’Brien. DNA samples were taken from family members and confirmed the partial remains taken from the canal close to Celbridge where those of Mr O’Brien, who was originally from Ballyfermot.
His lower limbs and head have not yet been recovered, though searches are continuing in Dublin and Kildare. Detectives believe Mr O’Brien may have been dismembered using machinery or power tools.
Garda Superintendent Gerry Wall said there was currently “no indication” as to why Mr O’Brien was killed.
He said: “It is a particularly gruesome crime and the brutality of it cannot be overstated in respect of how a human being has been treated.”
He said there was “no evidence” to suggest Mr O’Brien was in fear of his life. “This was a very normal man going about his business, pursuing his employment, trying to get some work, and he has been brutally murdered.”
He said Mr O’Brien, who worked as a JCB driver and a diesel fitter, was last seen alive on Friday morning.
He added: “He explained to his family that he was going to carry out some work down the country. He wasn’t seen or heard from since.
“By virtue of the fact he was last seen in Clondalkin, it is an area that is of particular interest to us. We don’t have any mode of transport for him. If people did see him in a car or on a bus, it would be of assistance to us.”
Mr O’Brien was described as 6ft 2in, of stocky build, with a beard. Detectives have renewed their appeal for information.
The Gardaí would like to speak to anyone who was in or around the Grand Canal near Ardclough on Friday and early Saturday to contact them.
In addition the gardaí are keen to speak to anyone who may have observed, seen or had any contact with Mr O’Brien since the early hours of Friday morning when he left Lealand Road in Clondalkin or can assist in tracing his movements.
They are also asking people returning to their property or premises after the weekend to check to see if there was anything unusual.
Was a room or equipment disturbed or their premises in anyway different than when they left. Did you as an employee or employer notice anything different in your premises?
Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room at Leixlip Garda Station
01 666 7800.