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Drogheda gardaí warned over safety as officer tailed home by gangsters

Independent.ie logo Independent.ie 21/01/2020 Ken Foy and Robin Schiller
Keane Mulready-Woods Keane Mulready-Woods

All gardaí working in Drogheda garda station have been formally warned to be extra vigilant of their safety after a car containing feuding gang members followed an officer's car as he drove home.

The sinister incident happened just days before Keane Mulready-Woods (17) was abducted and savagely murdered on Sunday night of last week.

The same gang which is suspected of murdering the tragic teenager is also suspected of attempting to follow the garda from Drogheda town centre to his rural home after he finished work.

Sources told the Irish Independent that the garda noticed a "high-powered vehicle" following him and he reported it to his colleagues, who sped to the scene on the outskirts of Drogheda.

Officers stopped the car and searched the vehicle, as well as questioning its three male occupants.

All have links to the anti-Maguire side of the Drogheda feud, which has been at war with paralysed gang boss Owen Maguire and his associates.

Two of the men have Dublin addresses and a third is from Drogheda.

Gardaí found nothing of evidential value in their car and made no arrests.

However, the incident has sparked major security concerns, and a senior officer emailed gardaí to warn them to be extra careful about their personal security.

Gardaí investigating the out-of-control feud have previously been threatened.

In December 2018, detectives launched an investigation after officers received "credible intelligence" that criminals from the same gang were planning that two gardaí involved in investigating the Drogheda feud were to be shot dead in a sinister plot.

The threats were made in a phone call to Cloverhill Prison, where a number of the feuding gangsters were on remand at the time, after being charged in relation to feud-related incidents.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said at the time that any threats against any member of An Garda Síochána were "utterly unacceptable".

Meanwhile, a close associate of feud murder victim Keith Branigan is suspected of destroying evidence at the home where gardaí believe Keane Mulready-Woods was murdered.

The home of the suspect, aged in his 50s, has been searched as part of the investigation into the killing and dismemberment of the teenager.

His remains were recovered in different parts of Dublin last week but his torso has still not been found.

Gardaí believe they have identified the house where he was murdered and have completed a forensic examination of the scene.

However, detectives suspect a man with close links to murdered Keith Branigan helped the gang involved and destroyed vital evidence in the aftermath of the crime.

Furniture belonging to the man was found burnt in a green area close to his home, while burnt clothing was also recovered.

A source said the suspect was very closely linked to Branigan.

"A large amount of evidence has been recovered from this man's home and he is very much suspected of helping the gang who carried out the murder.

"He has known links to the anti-Maguire group and would be considered a trusted member of the crime group," the source added.

Branigan (29) was the first fatality of the Drogheda feud when he was gunned down in a caravan park in Clogherhead on August 27.

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