Horrific case  | 

Three men sentenced for abduction and torture of businessman Kevin Lunney

The men were found guilty last month at the Special Criminal Court
Kevin Lunney's leg was broken, he was doused in bleach and had the letters QIH carved into his chest.

Kevin Lunney's leg was broken, he was doused in bleach and had the letters QIH carved into his chest.

By Andrew Phelan

THREE men have been jailed for the abduction and torture of businessman Kevin Lunney.

Alan O’Brien, Darren Redmond and a man known as YZ, had sentences handed down today for their roles in the brutal 2019 attack on the Quinn executive.

YZ, who inflicted most of Mr Lunney's serious injuries, was jailed for 30 years, O’Brien was given 25 years and Redmond got 15 years in jail, for falsely imprisoning and causing serious harm to Mr Lunney. Redmond was given an 18-year sentence but three years were suspended.

The three were found guilty last month after a nine-week trial at the non-jury, three-judge Special Criminal Court.

Under court order, YZ cannot currently be named.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt this morning told the court YZ played a leading role and was a "ringleader." He was assisted by O'Brien, and to a lesser extent by Redmond in what was a "deliberate, callous and vicious" assault, the judge said.

The accused, all dressed in grey tracksuits, sat in the dock as the sentences were handed down. Neither YZ nor O'Brien reacted, but Redmond shook his head when the judge read out his sentence.

Mr Lunney was not in court for the brief hearing.

O’Brien (40), of Shelmalier Road and Redmond (27), from Caledon Road, both in East Wall, Dublin, along with YZ (40) had denied the charges.

A fourth accused, Luke O’Reilly (68), from Mullahoran Lower, Kilcogy, Co Cavan, was acquitted. Mr Lunney (52), a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings, was kidnapped outside his Derrylin, Co Fermanagh home on September 17, 2019.

He was bundled into the boot of a car and driven to a horsebox in a yard at Drumbrade, Co Cavan, where his captors ordered him to resign, beat and slashed him, broke his leg with a wooden post, carved the company initials QIH into his chest with a stanley knife and doused his wounds in bleach.

Mr Lunney was left in his boxer shorts, covered in blood on a roadside in Drumcoghill Co Cavan, where he crawled to safety and flagged down a passing tractor.

In a victim impact statement last month, Mr Lunney said the scars and trauma of his kidnapping and torture would remain with him and his family for the rest of their lives.

Today, Judge Hunt said YZ had carried out threats to Mr Lunney and participated in getting the bleach.

He said it was likely YZ had participated in the prior surveillance of the businessman, having alluded "in a sinister way" to the surveillance of his daughter.

Judge Hunt said YZ had had a close business and personal relationship with "one of the principal organisers" - Cyril McGuinness.

YZ's prior convictions showed a "disregard for the integrity of others."

O'Brien was present while YZ inflicted the most serious assaults on Mr Lunney, the judge continued. O'Brien himself assaulted him on occasions during the ordeal, and left the container with YZ to get bleach. O'Brien's previous record showed a propensity for violence.

Redmond did not participate in the "dry run" to Cavan the day before the kidnapping but acted as an "assistant" to YZ on the day of attack, the judge said.

There was no doubt Redmond assisted in the Drumbrade area where Mr Lunney was imprisoned but data records showed his phone was stationery in the Ballinagh area at other times.

This reduced his culpability to a significant degree. Redmond had assisted YZ in "a lesser capacity", and was under his "malign influence", the judge said.

He described it as a "deliberate, callous and vicious assault" that was "carefully and meticulously planned by a criminal organisation."

Mr Lunney was abducted from outside the gateway to his home, assaulted, threatened and taken to an isolated location where he was tortured, stripped of his clothes and "almost all the last vestiges of his human dignity," Judge Hunt said.

The purpose was to terrorise and intimidate him and others.

Statements made by YZ prior to "carving letters" on Mr Lunney bore out this motive.

After this "repulsive enterprise," Mr Lunney was dumped in an almost naked condition on a roadside on a "chilly, dark September evening, in effect left for dead."

The court was in no doubt that his life had been in danger and he could "easily have expired" from injury, hypothermia or being struck by traffic.

Mr Lunney's victim impact statement had been "very impressive, measured and careful" and displayed a humanity and decency lacking in the actions of the accused.

Mr Lunney would "undoubtedly carry physical and emotional baggage" from the attack "to his last day," Judge Hunt said.

It was "calculated savagery" and "premeditated brutality" inflicted on a "decent man," to serve the ends of organised criminals. The accused had showed a "callous and flagrant disregard for Mr Lunney's constitutional rights and civil liberties."

They had been prepared to do "very dirty work" on behalf of others.

In mitigation, any sympathy one might have for YZ's background was reduced by the "vicious nature" demonstrated in this case and neither he nor O'Brien were "realistic candidates for rehabilitation."

The court would make "some allowance" for Redmond's lack of serious prior convictions, Judge Hunt said.

All three cases fell within the "exceptionally serious" category for pre-mitigation headline sentences.

While life sentences could be imposed, the judge said this should be reserved for those who organise or finance these crimes.

Before imposing sentence, he expressed the court's admiration for Mr Lunney, "the manner in which he comported himself during his ordeal," the way he gave evidence at the trial and his victim impact statement.

He extended good wishes to his family and also commended the gardai and PSNI for the detailed investigation.

Redmond stood to acknowledge the bond for the suspended portion of his sentence before the three were led back into custody.

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