NewsCrime Desk

Philip Finnegan killers attempted to burn body before shallow burial in woodland

Crime DeskBy Sunday World
Philip Finnegan
Philip Finnegan

The thugs who murdered criminal Philip Finnegan tried to set his body on fire after stabbing him to death.

Finnegan (24) is believed to have been killed by former associates, who are members of the gang that was led by Brian Rattigan.

His body was discovered by walkers in woodland near Carbury, Co Kildare, on Friday night.

It was in a shallow grave and his clothes had been burnt.

Details of the post-mortem have not been released, but it is understood that Finnegan, from the south-inner city, was stabbed to death and suffered multiple wounds.

His body was hidden in undergrowth and covered over with soil but was found by a dog that had been taken for a walk by its owners.

A major hunt is now under way to find the murder weapon.

Finnegan was reported missing from his home at Mary Aikenhead House in James Street on August 10.

Gardai believe he was murdered shortly after his disappearance.

Sources said he had become a target for the gang following a cash dispute and had been threatened by a number of criminals only days before he went missing.

It is not yet clear whether he was kidnapped by his killers or lured to Rahin woods, near Carbury, by people he trusted.

Officers said Finnegan, who had a criminal conviction for assault, had previously been attacked and shot at. He narrowly escaped death when a gunman opened fire on him and his friend, Owen Gaffney (26), of Lower Basin Street in a drive-by shooting in July 2013.

Five shots were fired, but neither man was injured. Both refused to co-operate with the garda investigation.

In December 2013, Finnegan was caught up in a bloody brawl when two rival groups met by accident in a Dublin fast-food outlet.

A hatchet was thrown through the window of Finnegan's home afterward, but the incident was not reported to gardai.

Last year, Finnegan was acquitted of firearms possession after a semi-automatic handgun capable of firing blanks was found during a raid on his home.

He was known to be associated with serious criminals in the south inner city and had been warned about "substantial or severe threats" to his life.

In January last year, Finnegan was cleared of firearms charges at Dublin Circuit Court after a judge ruled that gardai had used a threat of arresting other people to induce him to confess to being the owner of a firearm found in his bedroom.

He had pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of a blank firing pistol at his home on March 14, 2013.

Gardai found the gun in a box that also contained toys and video games in a bedroom Finnegan shared with his three younger brothers.

The remote location where his body was found is on the Kildare-Meath border, about 8km outside Edenderry.