Wednesday, 4 January 2006

Fatal hotel stab suspect already wanted for petty criminal's death

Wednesday January 04 2006
Tom Brady
Security Editor
A MAN arrested in connection with a fatal stabbing in a Dublin city hotel is also on a shortlist of suspects drawn up by detectives investigating the murder of a small-time criminal.

The prime suspect was arrested yesterday after he handed himself in to detectives investigating the stabbing of 21-year-old Martin McLoughlin, of Cherrywood Park, Clondalkin, in west Dublin in the early hours of the new year.

He is expected to appear before the Dublin District Court today.


Gardai had earlier carried out a number of searches at addresses across the city in a bid to locate the suspect.

The man, who is in his mid-20s and from west Dublin, is also named on a shortlist of suspects for the murder of Owen McCarthy, who was shot dead in the Wicklow Gap last November because of a drug debt.

Mr McLoughlin became the first murder victim of the new year after he was stabbed in the heart with a knife after a row broke out in the new Jury's Croke Park Hotel.

The builder's labourer was in a party of three couples who had booked into the hotel as part of a night of celebrations in the city.

The couples had earlier attended a nightclub in the city centre and returned to the hotel for a nightcap.

Shortly afterwards, Mr McLoughlin became involved in a heated argument with another man and was then stabbed once.

The knife used in the attack has not yet been located by the gardai.

Mr McLoughlin was rushed to the Mater Hospital around 4.15am on New Year's Day and died there at 7am on Monday, despite emergency surgery.

Gardai had been following a definite line of inquiry from an early stage in the investigation and circulated a description of a suspect wanted for questioning.

The man arrived with his solicitor yesterday afternoon at the investigation headquarters at Fitzgibbon Street garda station.

He was then arrested under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and taken to Mountjoy garda station for questioning. He can be detained without charge for an initial period of six hours and for a further six hours on the direction of a garda chief superintendent. Gardai investigating Mr McCarthy's murder believe he had fallen foul of a cocaine trafficking gang in the west Dublin area.

Detectives are working on the theory that he ran into financial difficulties after losing a haul of drugs worth around €30,000.


Mr McCarthy, from Ashwood Park, Clondalkin, was lured to the Wicklow Gap by former associates who told him they intended to retrieve a drugs haul which had been stashed there.

Forensic tests have shown that McCarthy's killer fired blasts from a weapon that is rarely used by crime gangs. The weapon is known as a woman's shotgun, because it is lighter than the more popular version, has less recoil and fires using a smaller cartridge. The victim had broken his leg earlier in the year and on November 4 last he hobbled out of a car on crutches to a clearing in forestry between Glendalough and Hollywood. As he was walked from the car he was shot initially in the back and then turned over and shot over the eye.

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