Limerick gardai to keep cars seized during murder investigation

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A BALLYNANTY man who was arrested and questioned about the murder of a 24-year-old man more than two years ago has failed in his bid to have two cars seized by gardai returned to him.

A BALLYNANTY man who was arrested and questioned about the murder of a 24-year-old man more than two years ago has failed in his bid to have two cars seized by gardai returned to him.

The man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, made a Police Property Application at Limerick District Court in relation to a 1998-registered Toyota Avensis and a 2002-registered Toyota Corolla.

The vehicles were seized in 2010 by gardai investigating the murder of Lee Slattery whose body was found in a shallow grave near Moyross on May 31, of that year.

The body of the 24-year-old who was from Ballynanty was found in an area of open ground at Knockalisheen Road a number of days after he had been reported missing.

Post mortem results showed he had been shot in the head.

Opposing the Police Property Application, Det Sgt James Ruddle, Mayorstone, said the murder investigation is ongoing, “very much alive” and is being conducted as “expeditiously as possible”.

He confirmed the two cars were seized a number of months after Mr Slattery’s body was found and that they are still in the possession of gardai.

He denied suggestions from the applicant that the cars were returned to him before being seized again some time later.

He said the vehicles, which have been forensically examined, were “central to the investigation” into Lee Slattery’s murder and that further examinations may have to be conducted in future.

However, he said he could not say how much longer gardai may need to keep the two cars for.

Det Sgt Ruddle told Judge Eugene O’Kelly that a number of arrests have been made as part of the murder investigation and that gardai are “following up on certain information”.

He told the court he could not disclose specific details in open court for operational reasons.

In his evidence, the applicant said he had originally bought the Corolla before giving it to his daughter and he said the Avensis belonged to his son.

Sgt Donal Cronin submitted that because the applicant was not the registered owner of either vehicle, he was not entitled to seek their return.

Judge O’Kelly agreed saying he had “no standing whatsoever”. The judge also noted that the vehicles were of a “significant vintage” and have “very little monetary value”.

The file into Lee Slattery’s murder is not yet complete and nobody has ever been charged in connection with his death.