NewsCrime Desk

"Grudge killer" murdered and dismembered Kenneth O'Brien says gardai

Kenneth O'Brien
Kenneth O'Brien

Kenneth O’Brien’s murder “looks like some sort of execution” said a friend of the deceased Dubliner.

The dad of one’s dismembered torso was found stuffed inside a suitcase in the Grand Canal, last weekend.

His remains were identified after a DNA sample provided by a family member proved a match.

Gardai say that Kenneth may have been murdered by someone with a personal grudge, as the JCB driver had no links to crime.

Today a friend of Ken’s who worked with him in Australia told Independent.ie that Irish community there are in shock at what happened.

“Ken lived for his family and was a hard worker. We can’t understand how or why his life could have ended this way,” he said.

“He went about his work, kept quiet, and gave nobody cause for concern or reason to criticise him,” he added.

“He worked continuously and missed his family greatly, and wanted to start his own business when he went home. He would always talk about how he missed his little boy,” said the Irishman who worked with Ken.

“When the little lad started to walk Ken was nearly in tears because he wanted to be be there to see him growing,” he added.

“We’ve been following the case out here because it is so unusual, and then this morning to see Ken’s photo in the reports is just such a shock. We can't understand it,” he explained.

“Ken was not in trouble with anyone and this looks like some sort of execution. We just can’t understand it,” he added.

“Although Ken was a big man, he didn’t carry himself as a hard man. He was a mechanic, just doing his work to provide for his family,” he said.

The mechanic and JCB driver returned home from Australia in December and was found by horrified walkers.

His body had been dismembered and his limbs were stuffed into plastic bags inside a suitcase.

An investigator told the Irish Independent: "It is rarely that we come across such savagery and we will be looking at people known to us with a history of violence as we sift through possible suspects for this awful crime."

Leixlip garda Supt Gerry Wall described the heartbreak after Mr O’Brien’s identity was confirmed.

He said: "He's a family man, with a partner. I spoke with his family this evening. They are devastated and grief-stricken."

"If you have spoken to him by email, phone or text, we would like to hear from you.

"The fact he was last seen in Clondalkin, Clondalkin is of particular interest to us. He was last seen on Friday morning. He hasn't been seen since and no contact has been made."

His disappearance was reported to the gardaí in Clondalkin the following evening.

Gardaí have not yet located where he was murdered and his body dismembered, but intensive investigations are continuing in west Dublin and north Kildare.

Officers said last night that securing a positive identification of the victim was a significant development in their investigation, and opened up fresh avenues of inquiry.

He is described as being 6'2" tall with a stocky build, and he wore a beard.

Supt Wall added: "At this stage, there is no indication why this crime was perpetrated." Gardaí were speaking to neighbours in the areas as the made door-to-door enquiries.

Neighbours spoke of their shock at what had occurred, but said that Mr O'Brien was not well-known in the area as he had only recently returned from overseas.