Gemma O’Doherty writes:
A key suspect in the murder of Dublin teenager Raonaid Murray has been shielded for almost 17 years due to Garda misconduct during the original investigation, a source close to the case has alleged.
The suspect knew the 17-year-old student well and had a personal grudge against her, the source claims.
Raonaid was repeatedly stabbed just metres from her home in Silchester Park, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin on September 4, 1999.
Her body was found by her sister minutes after the attack, which took place around midnight. The murder weapon is believed to have been a kitchen knife.
The original Garda investigation was crippled by a litany of ‘mistakes’ which many say point to a cover-up.
It has come to light that ever since her killing some gardai had evidence that the suspect knew her well.
Raonaid was not the victim of a sexual assault or theft.
The alleged motive for the attack centred around a personal disagreement between her and her attacker, the source asserts.
The suspect was prone to violent outbursts and has since attacked at least one other female.
It is alleged the individual has never been questioned properly by An Garda Siochana for Raonaid’s murder and was treated leniently in the early stages of the investigation.
After the killing, a relation of the suspect expressed serious concerns about their involvement but no action was taken.
Unusual behaviour by the individual in the period after the murder, and beyond, was also ignored.
The person subsequently came to the attention of gardai in relation to other matters.
New evidence has also emerged aboutthe behaviour of the lead officer in the original investigation, Detective Inspector Eamon O’Reilly
His failure to investigate vital evidence in the days after the murder provided the key suspect with immunity from investigation, claims the source, who adds that suspicious activity by other individuals who knew the suspect was ignored.
It is also believed that a house the suspect attended on the night of the murder was never adequately searched despite a number of unusual events that took place there.
A Cold Case review of the case, which began in 2008, identified several mistakes in the original investigation including the revelation that no search of the killer’s potential escape route was ever carried out.
Now in their 30s, the suspect lives periodically in Dublin. They are prone to aggressive outbursts, takes medication for violent mood swings and has assaulted at least one other woman. The individual has also been in psychiatric care.
Pic: An Garda Síochána
Raonaid was the daughter of Deirdre and Jim Murray, a principal in a local boys’ school. She had two older siblings Daniel and Sarah.
She had just completed her Leaving Cert when she was killed and was hoping to study Arts in UCD.
An avid reader who loved poetry, her dream was to become a professional writer.
At the time of the murder, she was working in a clothes shop called Sally West in Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre and was preparing to repeat the Leaving Cert at the Institute of Education on Leeson Street.
On the night she was killed, she finished work at 9pm and went for a drink with a friend in Scott’s Bar, a short walk from her home.
She left at about 11.20pm, and was planning to go home and change before going to a night club.
When she got to Silchester Crescent, a laneway close to her home, she was heard having a row with a person she knew. Witnesses heard her telling the person to ‘Fuck off’ and ‘Leave me alone’ before letting out a loud scream.
As she tried to drag herself away, the killer continued to attack her until she could no longer walk and collapsed. She died at the scene.
Claims several years ago that a blood-marked kitchen knife was found on the rooftop of an abandoned building very near the murder scene have never been formally verified by Gardai.