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'Voluntary statement' Dublin criminal identified as suspect in fatal shooting of Conor O’Brien (19)

Conor O’Brien (19) was not known to gardai for involvement in crime in any way

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Conor O'Brien

Conor O'Brien

Conor O'Brien

A Dublin criminal well-known to gardaí for involvement in serious crime has emerged as a suspect in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Conor O’Brien, Independent.ie can reveal.

The middle-aged suspect had an “interaction” with the teen victim hours before his death, according to well-placed sources.

This “interaction was not of a criminal nature but it did put the victim and suspect in direct contact”, according to security sources.

The Dublin criminal has been interviewed by investigating gardaí but has not been arrested, it is understood. He has provided a voluntary statement to gardaí.

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A shelter covers the spot where Conor O’Brien’s
body was discovered.

A shelter covers the spot where Conor O’Brien’s body was discovered.

A shelter covers the spot where Conor O’Brien’s body was discovered.

The suspect, originally from a south Dublin suburb but who also previously lived and served time in prison in the UK, is known to gardaí.

He has served various prison sentences and was also suspected of involvement in a fatal shooting in Meath almost 15 years ago, but he was never charged in relation to this murder.

Gardai investigating the murder of Mr O’Brien, discovered dead last Friday morning in Enfield in Meath, still have no motive for the shooting. The 19-year-old was not known to gardai for involvement in crime in any way.

“It is a real head scratcher and we still have no clear motive. But this Dublin criminal who had an interaction with the victim has emerged as a suspect,” according to well-placed source.

It emerged yesterday that Conor was due to begin a year-long blacksmith course this week.

The 19-year-old was discovered with a fatal gunshot wound to his chest at the property where he was living on the Trim Road, Enfield, last Friday morning.

Detectives believe he was killed the previous night and have launched a murder investigation.

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Conor had been due to start in a 12-month blacksmith course in Limerick.

He had also recently taken part in training in the trade in his local town of Gorey, Co Wexford.

Finín Liam Christie, a blacksmith from Gorey, described him as an ambitious young man who dreamed of travelling the world as a blacksmith.

Mr Christie said Conor initially approached him around a year ago to take part in some classes after watching the History Channel’s Forged in Fire programme in which top bladesmiths from around the world recreate historical weapons.

“He thought that appealed to him so he booked a class and he loved it,” Mr Christie told the Irish Independent.

Conor had only spent three days working with Finín last week before his death.

Mr Christie said he and other locals still can’t believe the news.

“From the first time I met him, I knew he came from good stock, good people and I can’t think any different of him,” he said. He said Conor was keen to learn how to forge a hammer and tongs before he began a year-long apprenticeship in blacksmithing in Limerick next month.

“He was thinking ahead,” he said.

Mr Christie described Conor as a quiet and reserved young man but who was cheerful and friendly.

“He was very quiet and private and he wouldn’t tell you too much. But he was a good lad. He listened, he was hardworking and he wanted to learn,” Mr Christie added.

Local gardaí are being assisted in the inquiry by members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) based at Harcourt Square in Dublin.

Mr O’Brien’s body was found at the rear of the property where he was living, and he had been killed by a single gunshot, but no weapon was found.

Neighbours said they had heard a bang on Thursday night but had not attached any importance to it.

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