Thursday, 9 Jul 2020

Kidnap victim found stabbed in the bath as gardaí raid house

A man kidnapped by a gang was found stabbed and beaten in a bathtub by armed gardaí.

The 22-year-old victim was found lying naked in a bath, bleeding heavily after he was stabbed more than six times in the face, neck and torso.

The man had been beaten and sliced with a knife numerous times. It is feared he would have been murdered if armed gardaí had not intervened and stormed the property.

The victim was found in a property on the Moneymore Estate in Drogheda, Co Louth, on Sunday night.

The man – who is known to gardaí but not considered as having any major role in a feud in the area – was rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where he is recovering from his injuries.

Gardaí arrested five men – they were not in the house where the victim was found, but in a nearby property.

The five remained in custody last night in Drogheda and Dundalk garda stations.

They include a teenager, three men in their 20s and another man in his 40s. A father and son are among the group, who are being quizzed for false imprisonment and assault.

The incident is the latest in an increasingly bitter feud in Drogheda. “This man is extremely lucky to be alive and gardaí believe he would have been murdered if it was not for the armed intervention that took place at the property in the Moneymore estate,” one senior source said.

Gardaí are investigating whether the incident was directly linked to an arson attack near a boxing club at Skelly’s Lane in the estate, which happened less than half an hour earlier. A massive explosion took place when a Renault Megane filled with gas cylinders was set alight.

It happened as gardaí and an Army bomb disposal team were dealing with a linked incident in Drogheda town centre, when a viable explosive device was placed in the exhaust pipe of a car belonging to the girlfriend of a well-known criminal.

A flame was observed coming from the exhaust of the vehicle at 2.40pm on Dublin Road, Drogheda, sparking a major security alert.

Gardaí believe the device was detonated by a criminal using a mobile phone and it melted in the heat of the detonation. While the woman targeted in that incident is not involved in the feud, her boyfriend is one of the main protagonists.

Meanwhile, at a halting site where a man was shot and injured last July, gardaí yesterday brought in a large mechanical digger during their third day of searches.

It is understood gardaí are digging for “stolen property, drugs and cash” at the site.

This is the same location where they seized almost €270,000 of cash and €5,000 worth of cocaine in August.

The explosion in gang violence in Drogheda on Sunday happened as the tit-for-tat feud kicked on in recent days, with six separate attacks taking place between Thursday night and Friday morning. Those incidents included four petrol bomb attacks and a hatchet attack on a teenager.

Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd said he is in ongoing communication with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan in relation to the matter and has also tabled a Dáil motion, which he hopes will be debated this week.

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