Relatives of chainsaw thug live in fear of revenge attack
Innocent female relatives of a Dublin gangster - who was convicted of dismembering the body of another criminal with a chainsaw and dumping it in a canal - are living in fear that they will be targeted in a revenge attack.
Last month, Philip County (29), from Lucan, and two other men were sentenced to two years in prison for hiding the dead body of Keith Ennis in 2009, a felony under Dutch law.
The Herald can now reveal that, since that verdict came in three weeks ago, two of County's relatives have become "deeply concerned" that they will be targeted, and have noticed strange vehicles at night driving suspiciously near their home.
The terrified women live in a midlands town and sources say that they have no involvement in crime.
"They only want a quiet life, that is why they have moved out of Dublin. These women are terrified they will be shot now," a source said.
Convicted drug dealer County did not show up to the Keith Ennis murder trial in the Netherlands earlier this year because his family were under threat and received a bullet in the post, according to his lawyer.
However, this was rubbished by Dutch prosecutors, who described him as "an enforcer" for an Irish organised crime gang.
It has been reported that County is currently in Brazil, but sources say he is expected back in Ireland in the next few weeks.
Dutch judges said in their verdict last month that the outcome of the investigation into Ennis's violent death was "highly unsatisfactory, especially for Ennis's next of kin, who do not know who murdered him".
According to the court, evidence that the three men killed Ennis was insufficient.
Ennis (29) was stabbed to death in February 2009 in an apartment in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.
He suffered multiple stab wounds to his head and face, and several fatal knife slashes to his back, penetrating vital organs.
Afterwards, his body was cut up with a chainsaw. The head was severed and hidden in a suitcase, which was dumped in a canal. The remains were found on February 24, 2009, in a lake in the heart of Amsterdam.
It took weeks before Dutch police were able to identify the victim, with the help of Interpol and gardai.
Dubliners Kenneth Brunell, from Palmerstown, and Barry McArdle, from Drimnagh, were extradited from Ireland in 2014 to stand trial.
Brunell and McArdle denied any wrongdoing and said they had never even met Ennis.
Because murder could not be proven, the men were sentenced only because of their "gruesome and shameless treatment" of Ennis's body.
Brunell (29) has served his time awaiting trial, and McArdle (30) was freed while awaiting an appeal.
While on bail, County posted pictures on his Facebook account posing with luxury cars in Bangkok and Abu Dhabi. He had also spent much of his time in Australia.
The thug, with an address in Foxdene Gardens, Lucan, became friendly with Ennis in the months before the murder.
At the time of his extradition to the Netherlands in April 2011, County was serving a prison term in Mountjoy after being caught in possession of ecstasy tablets in a bust, in which bulletproof vests were also seized.
He did not oppose the extradition order, which was granted at the High Court almost eight months after Dutch authorities requested it.
The feared criminal was being held in solitary confinement in a Dutch prison for several months while awaiting trial.
In his evidence, County said that Ennis was murdered in an apartment in Rotterdam, where Ennis came to socialise with County, Barry McArdle and Kenneth Brunell.
County told the police he stepped out to get liquor and when he came back, he found Ennis had been stabbed to death.