NewsCrime Desk

Gardai discover human torso during dig for missing rapist in Dublin park

Body part found during search for missing rapist James Nolan
Body part found during search for missing rapist James Nolan

Gardai searching for the remains of a convicted rapist in a north Dublin park have discovered a human torso.

The grim discovery, made during the search for the remains of James Nolan, happened at an embankment in Tolka Valley Park in Finglas, shortly before 2pm today.

The case of Nolan's suspected murder first came to public prominence when his arm was washed up on Dollymount Strand in 2011.

Gardai have been searching at the Finglas location since the morning of April 1 and are expected to continue looking for the rest of the murdered rapist's remains in the coming days.

Today's discovery was made by officers who were working with specially-trained dogs and machinery.

A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out tomorrow morning.

The Herald first revealed in December that gardai had planned to carry out a dig in the north Dublin park because of details left in a 21-page suicide letter written by Nolan's killer and sent to family members.

The letter states that James Nolan was strangled to death by his killer in Glasnevin Cemetery.

His body was then brought to an address in north Dublin and cut into pieces at that address.

The killer then disposed of most of Nolan's body parts in Co Monaghan and at Tolka Valley Park.

Gardai have been involved in a detailed search of the park for over a week. Specialist equipment and a cadaver dog are being used to support the search.

It is understood that Nolan's severed arm, which was found washed up at Dollymount Strand, had been originally thrown into the Tolka River and then washed out to sea.

James Nolan's inquest heard that Nolan's arm was found by a man walking his dog on February 8, 2011.

The inquest into Nolan's death also heard from State Pathologist Marie Cassidy, who said that Nolan's arm was "cleanly" severed post-death using a very sharp knife and that tattoos had been cut from the skin.

The last sighting of Nolan occurred when he collected methadone from the Wellmount Clinic in Finglas on November 30, 2010.

Nolan had been missing since shortly after he was released from Portlaoise Prison, having served a three-year sentence there for burglary in Booterstown, south Dublin, in 2005.

In 1986, he was jailed for 14 years when he was convicted of rape and false imprisonment.

The 1986 rape attack is considered one of the most savage to have ever happened in Ireland. The victim was brutally attacked in front of her partner.

Sources say that the rape incident is being probed as a possible motive for Nolan's gruesome murder even though his suspected killer was not present on the night.