Gardai have recovered blood-stained machetes and knives believed to have been used in the brutal murder of young Keane Mulready-Woods, the Irish Daily Mail can reveal.
The find was made yesterday morning in a shed behind a house at Rathmullen Park in Drogheda, Co. Louth. Inside the house, detectives are also understood to have found ‘blood-soaked floorboards’.
Meanwhile, senior gardaí have expressed concerns that criminals in Drogheda are embroiled in ‘social media warfare’.
Yesterday, gardaí strongly criticised the circulation of images and footage on social media purporting to be linked to the 17- year-old’s murder.
Senior sources confirmed that two videos linked the murder of the teenager are ‘false’.
But police could not say whether images of a dismembered body, posted online as a threat to rivals with the caption ‘f*** with us and you’ll lose your head’, were genuine.
A source revealed: ‘Gardaí have not ruled out that a video exists of the murder. But if so it has not been seen by investigating gardaí.’
The teen was abducted in his native Drogheda on Sunday, and is believed to have been murdered and dismembered there.
His limbs were dumped in a sports bag at a housing estate in Coolock, north Dublin, on Monday night.
It was found by children in the Moatview estate in Coolock, and his severed head was later recovered in a burning car in Ballybough, northeast Dublin.
A number of shocking images purporting to show the teen’s chopped-up body parts, as well as videos that claim to show the boy being tortured, were yesterday in general circulation, primarily on WhatsApp.
Gardaí have called on people not to circulate them, as they said this only serves to heighten tensions among the feuding criminal gangs and spread fear within the community.
Detectives are also concerned that such material can be seen to glorify serious crimes including murder.
Well-placed sources say ‘it has now been confirmed’ that one video purporting to show the dismembered body of the 17-year-old, and of him begging for his life before he is attacked with implements, are not genuine.
However, a number of other social media threats do exist and are ‘adding fuel to the fire’ of the escalating feud, a senior detective said.
The house in the Rathmullen Park area, where the knives and machetes were recovered was still sealed off last night.
DNA testing confirmed on Wednesday the human limbs found in a holdall dumped in an estate in Coolock on Monday were those of the teen, who had been missing since last Sunday.
Last night, Bishop Michael Router, the auxiliary Bishop of Armagh, who lives in Co. Louth, offered to mediate between the two feuding criminal gangs in Drogheda.
He appealed to the families of the gang members and leaders, the wives, mothers, partners and adult children, to help settle the feud.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar yesterday condemned the teenager’s murder as ‘grotesque and gruesome’ and said the country is shocked by the killing.
It is believed that Keane, who was working for both factions in the Drogheda feud, was abducted on Sunday evening after going to meet an associate.
Meanwhile, the chief suspect for his murder was seen by gardaí in Drogheda drinking in a local pub on Wednesday afternoon.
One of his main feud rivals was separately spotted by detectives drinking in another pub on the same day.
Both sides out publicly ‘attempting a show of strength’.
One senior source said last night disrespectful images of the deceased and provide false support to the perpetrators of this brutal crime.
‘Gardaí are asking people not to share this material,’ the statement said.
The chief suspect for the murder, recently released from jail, is understood to have returned to his native north Dublin yesterday.
He had been living outside the capital since last year because of threats to his life by a Dublin drug trafficker and another violent criminal from north Dublin.
While the images and videos circulating over the past 24 hours are ‘going viral’ because of the shocking nature of the murder, there are many videos being ‘incorrectly’ shared and linked to the feud which are wholly unrelated.
‘All these images and videos going around: half of them have nothing to do with Drogheda whatsoever.
‘The situation has blown up,’ said a source.
But before the seismic developments this week, the use of ‘social media warfare’ has been raging since the feud began in 2018.
The so-called Drogheda feud kicked off in July 2018, when Owen Maguire was shot at his halting site home in the town.
Maguire was shot in the stomach and shoulder and also suffered injuries to both legs and wrists in the botched murder attempt, which left a bullet lodged in his spine.
He has been left paralysed from the waist down.
In a recorded phone conversation that went viral around St Patrick’s Day last year, a key player in the feud calls Maguire, a member of the Travel l ing away, laughing, after the assault.
The man who attacks him in the video is linked to the second murder in the feud, the killing of Richard Carberry, sources say.
Keith Brannigan was the first man to be shot dead as part of the feud, in August 2019.
Both Brannigan and Carberry – a married father-of-two who was killed in November last year – were shot dead by associates of Owen Maguire.
Since the shooting of Owen Maguire, there have been numerous attacks on both sides of the feud, including the shooting of Owen’s older brother, Brendan, who was lucky to survive.
And with each shooting incident, ‘a threat video or two usually emerge’, said a source.
A senior source said last night: ‘There have been dozens of social media videos, threats and counter- threats, circulating since 2018.
‘There have been countless online threats and insulting videos made by both sides.
‘It’s all part of the one-upmanship of criminality. And social media is perfect for that.’