NewsCrime Desk

Name and picture of man found in suitcase in canal released by gardai

Kenneth O Brien
Kenneth O Brien

Gardai have identified the murder victim whose torso was found in a suitcase in the Grand Canal at Ardclough in north Kildare last Saturday afternoon.

He has been named as Kenneth O'Brien and is aged 33. Mr O'Brien  is from Lealand Road, Clondalkin, Dublin.

He is understood to have gone missing on Friday and his disappearance was reported to gardai the following evening.

The victim was identified this afternoon after a DNA sample taken from the torso matched with a sample given by a member of the man's family.

Gardai have not yet established where he was murdered and dismembered but intensive investigations are continuing in north Kildare and west Dublin.

The victim is not known to gardai - and is from what has been described as a very respectable and hard working family.

It's understood gardai are now in the process of identifying the victim's next-of-kin.

The breakthrough in the identification of the victim occurred earlier today.

The torso of a male was found wrapped in plastic in a suitcase near Ardclough Bridge, Co Kildare, shortly after 3.30pm on Saturday.

The victim's head, hands and feet had been cut off in an attempt to prevent gardaí from carrying out an identification process of the body.

However, investigating detectives have so far been able to determine that the victim was aged in his early 20s.

Sources have revealed that one of the lines of inquiry gardaí were working on is that the victim was brutally slain in "a house party that got out of control". However, it is understood this theory has been investigated and discounted.

The suitcase holding the torso of the murder victim was in the Grand Canal for at least six hours before it was recovered by passers-by.

Several walkers noticed the suitcase in the canal at Ardclough in north Kildare from 9am onwards on Saturday but thought it was discarded litter.

A post-mortem examination of the torso by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, at Naas General Hospital on Sunday afternoon, showed no signs of injury to the torso.

Gardaí believe the fatal injuries may have been inflicted to the victim's head, either through a shooting or a brutal assault. Members of the Garda water unit resumed their search of the canal for other body parts yesterday, while the Garda dog unit was also drafted in to lead searches along the canal banks and adjoining land.

Gardaí think other body parts could have been dumped elsewhere in the Grand Canal or in nearby wasteland.

Members of the Garda investigation team from the Kildare division are working closely with colleagues in west Dublin.

Fingerprint checks are being carried out on the suitcase and the heavy plastic used to wrap the torso.

Gardaí have so far gathered more than 80 witness statements from members of the public, with investigating officers appealing for anyone with information to contact Leixlip Garda Station.

They want anyone who was in or around the Grand Canal near Ardclough on Friday and early Saturday to contact them.

In addition gardai are keen to speak to anyone who may have observed, seen or had any contact with Kenneth since the early hours of Friday morning when he left Lealand Road in Clondalkin or can assist in tracing his movements.

Gardai are also asking people returning to their property or premises after the weekend to check to see if there was anything unusual. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room at Leixlip Garda Station 01 666 7800.