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Car seat and hammer could be crucial to Adrian Donohoe investigation

Investigating gardaí also want information on a hammer that was discovered at the scene.

This child's car seat was in the Volkswagen Passat stolen before Adrian Donohoe was killed; the hammer to the right was found at the scene.
This child's car seat was in the Volkswagen Passat stolen before Adrian Donohoe was killed; the hammer to the right was found at the scene.
Image: Gavan Reilly/TheJournal.ie

DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in Co Louth last month have revealed two new lines of inquiry into their colleague’s death.

Investigators have appealed for anyone who may have information about a child’s car seat, taken from the car used by Det Garda Donohoe’s assailants to escape the scene, or a hammer found at the murder scene to contact them.

Gardaí leading the investigation said the bright green Cosatto-brand car seat was in the blue Volkswagen Passat, a fully automatic car with an 08-D licence plate, which was stolen in Clogherhead between 11:30pm on Tuesday 22 and 4:30am on Wednesday 23 January.

The car seat was not in the vehicle when it was used by the group of five who attempted to raid the Lordship Credit Union at Bellurgan in Co Louth in the event that led to Det Garda Donohoe being shot and killed at about 9:30pm the following Friday night, 25 January.

The car was found burned out about an hour later at the entrance to a forest on the Newtownhamilton to Keady road, over the border in Co Armagh.

A replica of the child’s car seat which was in the car stolen from Clogherhead and used in the murder of Adrian Donohoe.

“We are appealing to anybody who may have been offered this car seat for sale or any unsuspecting person who may have purchased this,” said Garda assistant commissioner Kieran Kenny, who is in charge of the northern region and who is leading the investigation.

“It may also have been dumped from the car, or could have been given as a gift to some person,” he added.

Mallet-style hammer found at the scene

Gardaí also sought information about a hammer found at the Credit Union when it was examined in the aftermath of Donohoe’s death.

The precision mallet-style hammer, which is black with a red handle, was found at the scene.

Extensive forensic tests are being undertaken on the hammer, a replica of which was revealed at a news conference today.

The hammer found at the scene has significant wear on the red part of its handle, and is missing a protective plastic cover on one side of its head, with a steel screw protruding from its head.

Kenny said the hammer was of the type used by panel beaters, motorcycle mechanics and others involved in the motor repair trade – later adding that it would have been bought “for a specific purpose”.

“Only one person fired the fatal shot,” Kenny said, appealing to anyone with information – even those who may have been part of the armed gang – to come forward.

Anyone with information about either the car seat or the mallet the car seat has been asked to contact Gardaí in Dundalk at (042) 9388400, or the Garda Confidential line at 1800 666 111.

They can also contact Crimestoppers, who have offered an undisclosed “substantial” reward for anyone with information that leads to the capture of Donohoe’s killers. Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously at 1800 25 00 25.

Kenny said any information offered to Gardaí would be treated in the strictest confidence.

Over 2,300 lines of inquiry have been carried out so far by the officers working on the investigation, with 800 interviews carried out and statements taken. A significant quantity of CCTV footage has also been harvested and is being examined.

Kenny said significant physical and human resources were being devoted to the task, with officers who had originally been assigned to tasks like collecting CCTV footage now being given other tasks related to the investigation.

Additional reporting by Sinead O’Carroll

Read: Fresh appeal about murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

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Gavan Reilly

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