The alleged mastermind of the brutal abduction and torture of businessman Kevin Lunney died of a heart attack when English police raided his “safe house” in the UK in a series of searches by three police forces this morning.
Mob boss Cyril McGuinness died when armed police raided the property in the Derby area of England after getting the location of the secret hideout from gardai.
Sources said that McGuinness “must have been completely shocked” when police kicked in the door which was one of 18 locations searched in co-ordinated raids this morning by gardai, the PSNI and English police.
Gardai believe the Co Fermanagh thug nicknamed ‘Dublin Jimmy’ was the criminal who ordered the attack on respected businessman Mr Lunney.
“This is a bizarre development but the information coming from England is that he simply suffered a heart attack when the raid happened and had been restrained or tasered by officers in the course of the raid,” a senior source said.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said police were working to pursue those responsible and Friday’s operation was a “significant step forward”. PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said the operation was a good sign of cooperation between the organisations.
Mr Hamilton said the death would be investigated in England and separate to their probe. He refused to comment on if the man was a suspect but said the death was “very regrettable”. He said Derbyshire police were commissioned by the PSNI to conduct the search.
Commissioner Drew Harris and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, PSNI giving a press statement at Garda Headquarters today in relation to the investigation into the abduction of Kevin Lunney.
Posted by An Garda Síochána on Friday, November 8, 2019
McGuinness who was aged in his early 50s from in Co Fermanagh and has more than 50 convictions.
These include one in Belgium for leading a gang smuggling plant machinery into Ireland.
Gardai, along with the PSNI and the Derbyshire Constabulary in England, carried out the searches this morning as part of a larger ongoing criminal investigation.
Members of An Garda Siochana searched a mix of domestic dwellings and business premises in five locations in Co Cavan, three locations in Co Longford and four locations in Dublin.
Their investigation, in conjunction with UK police services, also saw the PSNI search five locations in Northern Ireland the Derbyshire Constabulary search one further location in UK.
The Irish News reports directors at Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) have rejected an offer to meet members of the Quinn family.
Sean Quinn jnr, once his father’s right-hand man in the business, made the offer in a statement to BBC Spotlight.
It was issued for this week’s broadcast of a Spotlight interview with Mr Lunney who spoke for the first time of his ordeal.
Friday’s searches are part of the evidence gathering stage, to progress the investigations into the abduction, false imprisonment and assault of Kevin Lunney on the September 17 of this year.
Mr Lunney, a 50-year-old father of six was abducted from his car near his home in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh at around 6.40pm.
He was allegedly assaulted at a second location, the same evening, before being left at the side of the road at Drumcoughill, Cornafean, Co Cavan sometime before 9pm.
The Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) director had his neck cut with a blade during the ordeal. He also sustained a broken leg and some of his fingernails removed.
Mr Lunney, told BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme, earlier in the week, how he was bundled into a car boot at knifepoint by a gang of three men. Mr Lunney went on to describe the torture he suffered during his attack.
He was in the boot when he overheard one of his captors talking on the phone, addressing someone as “boss”. After a hood was placed over his head, and he was led to a horsebox, his captors then told him they wanted him to resign from QIH, which he agreed to before the torture started.
“One of them started with the Stanley knife on each of my fingers… he started to run the Stanley knife under each nail quite hard and deep so each of them were bleeding a bit, deep enough that it was sore and painful,” he said.
The captors then poured bleach over Mr Lunney.
“That was very, very sore [because of the cuts] then he started with a cloth and started to rub my hands which were tied, rubbed them and rubbed them, really, really hard, and that was agony with the bleach,” he said.
“It was excruciating, the pain of the bleach – I was screaming, I think. Then they pulled me up and somebody said: ‘Have you done his face.’ Next thing there was a squirt of bleach in my face, into my eyes… there was a lot of fumes, I started to cough and almost passed out,” he said.
At this point, they told him again to resign from QIH, as well as the other directors.
“I said: ‘I’ll tell them to resign’. He said a number of times, ‘We know you, we have been watching you.’ At one stage he said: ‘We have been watching you, we have seen you with your little daughter with the GAA top and you are going to do what we say.’
“Then he said: ‘OK we believe you, but if you don’t we’ll be back, for you and all the family and everybody’s family.’”
Mr Lunney said his captors told him they “had to rough him up”.
“He says: ‘Hold out your leg’… next thing was he hit it… I think it was a either a baseball bat or a short fence post, and I heard it breaking and I roared, the pain was awful,” he said.
“He said to the other guy holding the torch, ‘Did that snap?’. He said no so he immediately hit it again, same place or close, and it was a hundred times worse the second time.”
Over 100 members of An Garda Siochana are involved in the investigation team at Cavan Garda Station, including colleagues from the wider Cavan/Monaghan Garda Division, Regional Support Units, National Support Service (NSS) Dog Units, National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) and National Public Order Unit.
As the investigation continues, An Garda Síochána has appealed to anyone who may have any information, no matter how insignificant it appears,to contact An Garda Síochána at Cavan Garda Station 049 4368800, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 25 00 25 or any Garda Station.