The businessman was in the process of selling – a move that would have distanced him from criminal elements
The Sunday World has learned that Brian Reynolds had placed his home in Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, on the market with real estate company DNG – and in the weeks before his death had agreed on a sale of the property for in the region of €220,000.
Images from inside the pristine three-bedroom property, in which the 47-year-old was horrifically beaten, show how he had kept it and an adjoining shop to it’s rear in immaculate condition.
The house was also fitted out with CCTV cameras covering the front, side and rear the property.
But, three days before Christmas, and as Brian was preparing to leave Rathmullen Park once and for all, a gang of up to four men burst into his three-bedroom home and subjected him to a merciless and ultimately fatal beating involving hammers.
Detectives are now investigating whether Brian was targeted by thugs associated with the so-called ‘anti-Maguire faction’ – who are active in the Drogheda feud – in a row over a disputed cash sum of €30,000.
It’s believed Brian – who had previously run a small convenience store from a building to the rear of the property – may have come in contact with these criminals after agreeing to sell smuggled cigarettes.
According to one source: “Information currently being looked at is that the victim had been attacked over significant amounts of money [linked] with associates of a local crime gang. As much as €30,000 may have been at the centre of this but it has to be established if this was a motive for this violent killing.”
In the wake of Brian’s murder, a picture of the dead man circulated on social media with the words: “Use (sic) murder(ed) me for drugs and cigarettes.’
Brian had twice been fined by Revenue over the sale of illegal cigarettes.
In 2019, he was fined €2,500 for selling smuggled cigarettes on which no taxes had been paid. And similarly, in 2017, he was also fined €2,500 for the same offence.
The 2017 fine related to an incident on December 9, 2014, when he was caught in possession of 1,060 cigarettes, which he had for sale in the shop.
It’s understood Brian, who was yesterday described by neighbours as a “quiet spoken, gentle and friendly man” may have been put under pressure by thugs aligned with the anti-Maguire faction to sell the cigarettes as his business was in an estate they consider their stronghold.
One neighbour yesterday told this newspaper: “I’m still in shock that this has happened,” she said. “Brian was living there years. It must be 20 years I’d say. He was very quiet. You wouldn’t hear a noise out of that house … I swear to God.
The neighbour said Brian had passed on the running of the shop several years ago.
“He had three sisters and a mother and father. May God love them after this! I can’t get my head around what’s after happening.
“We didn’t hear a sound the night they said it happened. I didn’t know anything about it until someone came in and told me there was an ambulance and gardaí outside.”
After the discovery was made of Brian lying seriously injured inside his home he was rushed by paramedics to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in the town.
Tragically he passed away of his injuries on the following Saturday, Christmas Eve.
A post-mortem confirmed he had died as a result of the injuries he sustained during the assault.
Speaking earlier this week, Mayor of Drogheda Councillor Michelle Hall said Gardaí did not believe that Brian’s death was directly related to the Drogheda feud.
“They have indicated to me that they don’t think it is related to the drug feud, the crime between two factions here in Drogheda.”
Ms Hall said while there was some relief that this death is not believed to be feud-related, “we still have the death of a man who was loved in the area where they have seen a lot of tragedy.”
Rathmullen Park where Brian was living is the same estate where 17-year-old Keane Mulready-Woods was murdered in January 2020 and where part of his body was subsequently found.
In a funeral notice yesterday, Brian was remembered as a ‘beloved son, brother and much-loved uncle.”
His body will repose at Townley’s Funeral Home, Crosslanes, tomorrow evening with his funeral Mass at 11am on Tuesday in the Holy Family Church, Ballsgrove, Drogheda.
Burial will take place in Tullyallen cemetery. His family have requested that the house and burial remain private.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Drogheda Garda Station on 041 9874200, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.
A spokesperson confirmed yesterday there have been no arrests to date in connection with the ongoing probe.