Gardai now believe Kenneth O'Brien was shot before he was dismembered
MURDER victim Kenneth O’Brien was shot once in the head, killing him, before his killers dismembered his body using equipment.
Gardai believe that the 33-year-old was shot dead within hours of leaving his Clondalkin, Dublin home on Friday, January 15.
Confirmation that he was shot was made by Deputy State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis yesterday when he examined Mr O’ Brien’s severed head which had been found in the Grand Canal near Sallins, Co Kildare, on Monday.
There were no signs of torture on the victim’s body and it has emerged that Mr O'Brien's head and limbs were found in bin bags and a sport bag on Sunday and Monday.
Detectives believe the gang wanted the victim’s body parts to be found so that a grim message would be sent out to anyone tempted to cross them.
Among the lines of inquiry being followed by investigating gardai is that Mr O'Brien fell foul of a feared west Dublin drugs gang after a dispute over money.
Gardai are probing whether Mr O'Brien had been either laundering their cash or providing them with money for their sophisticated trafficking network when a dispute broke out.
Detectives are now satisfied that Mr O'Brien's murder was well planned and his killers did not panic when they dumped his remains at different locations in the Royal and Grand Canals.
“In all probability, this gang knew that this man's remains would be found quickly and those responsible for the murder don't seem too bothered about this,” a source explained.
“The belief is that they wanted to send out a sick message to their rivals or anyone else that might think of ripping them off. There would have been many easier ways of disposing of the body.
“O’Brien was used by this criminal network because he was a clean pair of hands and was very much under the garda radar. There is no doubt that the victim got in way out of his depth,” the source added.
Sources also revealed gardai believe the gang scattered the victim’s remains at different locations in an attempt to hinder the investigation into the murder.
Mr O'Brien’s torso was discovered on Saturday January 16 in the Grand Canal near Ardclough, Co Kildare.
Gardai are continuing to search three locations in Kildare as part of the grim murder probe.