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Destroyed evidence Fire that destroyed van seized in Kevin Lunney case caused by walkie talkies, court hears

The Kangoo was allegedly used by Mr Lunney's assailants to travel from Dublin to Cavan and back on the day of the abduction

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Trial: Businessman Kevin Lunney

Trial: Businessman Kevin Lunney

Trial: Businessman Kevin Lunney

A Storage yard blaze that destroyed a van seized as evidence in the Kevin Lunney kidnapping case was caused by a fault in walkie talkies that were left charging overnight.

The accidental fire broke out in an office at the premises, burning the Renault Kangoo after it had been forensically examined by gardaí, the Special Criminal Court heard.

Gardaí had offered to allow an independent inspection of the van on behalf of one of the accused men before it was discovered it had been destroyed.

The Kangoo was allegedly used by Mr Lunney's assailants to travel from Dublin to Cavan and back on the day of the abduction.

Four men are on trial at the non-jury court over Mr Lunney's kidnapping and torture in 2019.

Mr Lunney (52), a Quinn Industrial Holdings director, was bundled into a car outside his Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, home and taken to a horsebox where his captors broke his leg with a wooden bat, slashed his face with a Stanley knife and doused his wounds in bleach while ordering him to resign from the company.

They carved "QIH" into his chest with the knife before dumping him, stripped to his boxer shorts, on a roadside in Drumcoghill, Co Cavan.

Mr Redmond (27), of Caledon Road, Alan O'Brien (40) of Shelmalier Road, both in East Wall, Dublin, and a man who cannot be legally named, known as "YZ" (40), are alleged to have been directly involved in the attack.

Mr O'Reilly (67), from Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan, is accused of providing "material assistance in the planning and execution of the offences".

They all face the same charges of false imprisonment and causing serious harm to Mr Lunney at Drumbrade, Ballinagh, Co Cavan, on September 17, 2019, which they deny. Previously, the court heard it was alleged YZ, Mr O'Brien and Mr Redmond travelled to Cavan in the van that day.

It was later found at a yard in Co Meath and DNA from Mr Lunney and Mr Redmond was found inside.

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The prosecution alleges the van was imported by suspected organiser of the kidnapping, Cyril McGuinness, who has since died.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh.

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