lunney attack  | 

Owner of the yard where Kevin Lunney was allegedly tortured says he "felt bad" afterwards court hears

Land owner stands accused of aiding the men who attacked Mr Lunney
Businessman Kevin Lunney

Businessman Kevin Lunney

Andrew Phelan

The owner of the yard where businessman Kevin Lunney was allegedly imprisoned and tortured by a masked gang told gardai he “felt bad” and was “shocked” when he found out what happened, the Special Criminal Court heard.

Luke O’Reilly, who is accused of helping the attackers, said in interview after his arrest that he “didn’t know anything about” Mr Lunney being held on his land at the time.

He knew the now-deceased suspected organiser of the abduction, Cyril McGuinness, but said any contact they had at the time was about getting a truck for Mr O’Reilly’s motor parts-selling business.

Afterwards, he said, he did not speak to McGuinness again because he was “not good news” and “not a good yoke.”

Evidence of the garda interview was being heard in the non-jury trial of Mr O’Reilly and three other men charged over the 2019 kidnapping of Mr Lunney.

Mr Lunney (52), a Quinn Industrial Holdings director was bundled into a car outside his Co Fermanagh home and taken to a container 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.

Darren Redmond (27), of Caledon Road, Alan O’Brien (40) of Shelmalier Road, both in East Wall, Dublin, and a man “YZ” (40), who cannot legally be named, are all 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 17th, 2019, which they deny.

Today, the court heard evidence of two interviews with Mr O'Reilly at Monaghan garda station in the days after his arrest on November 21, 2019.

Det Gda Sean O’Brien was present at the first interview on November 24 and was led through the memos of interviews by Garrett Baker BL, for the prosecution.

The court heard Mr O’Reilly had told gardai he understood when they said he had been arrested on suspicion of facilitating a criminal organisation in the commission of an offence.

He was shown CCTV footage and asked if he recognised anyone in it. The answer was no. He was shown a CCTV still of a Renault Kangoo van suspected by gardai to have been involved in the kidnapping and was asked if he had seen it before.

Again, the answer was no. He was asked if the van was ever in his yard.

“Not that I know of,” he said.

The yard at Drumbrade was unlocked and he was asked who had access to it. “Anybody”, he said, adding that “stuff was left there for 10 years.”

He said he owned 70pc of the stuff in the yard. The gardai asked if he was saying that if someone used the yard he would not know about it.

“Yes, that is what I’m saying,” he replied.

The other 30pc of stuff in the yard was “scrap people would throw into it,” he said.

Asked about it being unlocked, he said sometimes people would come to have a look at a vehicle and it was “handy that they could have a look.”

He would drive around and check the yard and close the gates. He was asked if the Kangoo could have been in his yard without his knowledge.

“I didn’t see it and I have no knowledge of it being in my yard,” he said.

He was shown a picture of a BMW and said he “didn’t see anything like that” in his yard.

A garda asked him if he knew “Cyril McGuinness or Dublin Jimmy.”

“Dublin Jimmy, yeah,” he replied. He said he had known him for years and he would be in his yard at least once a month.

He would “drive in like a crazy bastard” with a husky dog, he said. He had known him “well before (McGuinness) went to jail.”

He described Mc Guinness bringing a truck for him and said he met McGuinness and gave him €450 “a couple of days after ye searched me.”

The garda asked if McGuinness brought the vehicle back for him around the time Mr Lunney was kidnapped.

“After,” he said. They met outside his other yard at Ballytrust. McGuinness was driving a black Mercedes and had the dog with him.

He did not speak to Ms Guinness again after that and said he “didn’t want to be with him."

“Because of what had happened?” a garda asked.

“Well, he’s not good news, is he?” Mr O’Reilly said.

The garda asked what had changed his attitude to McGuinness and asked if it was because he “landed you in this shit?”

“He landed me in no shit,” Mr O’Reilly replied. “It’s the way he is, he’s not a good yoke.”

The garda told him he would have been “on the phone to him organising this truck” and asked if the nature of the calls was “about this truck.”

“Yes,” he said.

On the evening of September 17, he said, he drove to the shop to get bleach. The court heard previously in an earlier voluntary statement, he had told gardai he got the bleach shopping for his wife. He drove back to the yard at his home, changed a battery in a tractor and went to the house. His son was working in the yard and he saw nobody else.

Another interview was held the next day, November 25.

In this, Mr O'Reilly said he had owned the Drumbrade land for 40 years and used it for 10 to 15 years for storing vehicles and trailers.

When asked about the blue trailer (where Mr Lunney was allegedly imprisoned), he said he bought it four to five years earlier from a man from Tyrone.

“Had you your suspicions on the 20th that he had been kept in Drumbrade?” the garda interviewer asked, referring to Mr Lunney.

“No, I didn’t know anything about it,” he said.

He became aware that Mr Lunney was kept in the yard when it was “in the papers” later, and the garda asked him what he thought.

“I didn’t know what to think,” he said. “Shocked.”

The garda said there was DNA evidence from the horse trailer and asked why he thought Mr Lunney was kept there.

“I have no idea,” he said. The garda asked him what he thought “knowing now” what happened.

“I feel bad about it, wouldn’t want it to happen to nobody,” he said. “I was actually shocked.”

He said he had first met McGuinness first 15 to 20 years ago in England.

McGuinness had a trailer and would “bring stuff from England for me.”

“You can get stuff that you won’t get here,” he said.

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

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