Kevin Lunney: Physical scars and mental trauma of kidnapping will remain forever

·4-min read

Businessman Kevin Lunney has said the physical scars and mental trauma of his kidnapping and assault will stay with him for the rest of his life.

In a victim impact statement read at a sentence hearing for three men found guilty of the crime, the Quinn Industrial Holdings director said a “greater torment” than his physical pain was knowing the “anguish” his wife and children had experienced.

Mr Lunney, 51, was kidnapped close to his home in Co Fermanagh on the evening of September 17 2019.

The businessman had his leg broken, was doused in bleach and the letters QIH were carved into his chest before he was dumped on a roadside in Co Cavan.

During his abduction ordeal, his attackers repeatedly demanded that the father of six resign his position as a director of the company.

Three men found guilty of false imprisonment and causing intentional harm to Mr Lunney appeared at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on Monday for a sentence hearing.

Sitting together in the dock were Alan O’Brien, 40, of Shelmalier Road in East Wall in Dublin; Darren Redmond, 27, from Caledon Road also in East Wall; and a 40-year-old man referred to as “YZ” who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Mr Lunney was also in court for the proceedings supported by family members and work colleagues.

During the hearing, a Garda detective read out his victim impact statement to the three judges who presided over the non-jury trial.

In the statement, Mr Lunney said: “I know the physical scars and mental trauma of the events of 17th September 2019 will remain with me and my family for the rest of our lives.”

He said every day he thinks about the “long term” impact of the incident on his wife, children and wider family circle.

“I remain conscious that events like this can never be erased and that we will need to find continuing strength and solace in the support and comfort of many good people in the times ahead. I hope and pray we can remain resilient.”

Mr Lunney praised his fellow directors and workers at the company for their “support and fortitude”.

He said one of the most “affirming and humbling” experiences of his life was the march of support undertaken by workers and community members at the QIH businesses in the wake of his kidnap.

Mr Lunney said the sentencing was a “major and important milestone”.

But he added: “I am also mindful that the journey to full accountability is not yet complete.”

Mr Lunney said he did not know why the defendants targeted him, highlighting that he did not know them, or them him.

“I don’t know whether their absence of any personal agenda diminishes or aggravates what they have done,” he added.

“I am, however, saddened at a human level that they have ruined their own lives by their actions and I sympathise with their families in the anguish they are enduring today.

“Neither can I fathom the intent or reasoning that encouraged and enticed them to commit this crime. I trust those involved now realise that there will never be a place in our community for violent or any other form of intimidation.”

Mr Lunney thanked the man who found him on the roadside for saving his life and also the doctors and nurses who treated him.

Prosecution and defence barristers outlined various mitigating and aggravating factors during Monday’s sentencing hearing.

The court heard that YZ has 180 past convictions, the most serious of which was in connection with a murder.

The judges were told O’Brien has 40 prior convictions and Redmond two.

Under questioning from a defence barrister, a Garda detective superintendent acknowledged the three accused were at the bottom of the criminal “pyramid” involved.

The detective superintendent agreed with the barrister’s description of a pyramid which had at its apex those who ordered the attack and who stood to gain from it, and below them were those who executed it.

He also agreed when the barrister suggested the three defendants were the next level down, having been brought in to do the “dirty work”.

Barristers for all three men also urged the judges to take into account issues related to their respective personal and family circumstances when considering what sentence to impose.

A barrister representing Redmond stressed that the court had found he had been on the “periphery” of the crime.

The judges reserved passing sentence on the three men until December 20.

Submissions were also heard on whether a reporting restriction on YZ’s identity should be lifted.

The judges extended the restriction for another three weeks to give the legal parties further time to consider some of the issues raised.

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