DNA used to identify three men killed driving wrong way down N7, inquest told

Car carrying criminals Dean Maguire, Karl Freeman and Graham Taylor hit truck after Garda pursuit and burst into flames

Three men who died when the vehicle they were in burst into flames after crashing head-on into a truck in Dublin last year were identified using DNA samples taken from relatives, an inquest has heard.

Tallaght men Dean Maguire (29), Karl Freeman (26) and Graham Taylor (31) had been pursued by gardaí and were driving a BMW down the wrong side of the N7 when the collision occurred between Citywest and Baldonnell on July 7th of last year.

A former scientist attached to Forensic Science Ireland, John Hoade, told Dublin District Coroner’s Court he was able to match DNA samples taken from a parent of each of the deceased with blood samples taken from the men’s bodies.

Louise Woods, a senior investigator with the Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc), told the inquest that significant progress had been made in the watchdog’s inquiry into the deaths. Ms Woods sought and was granted a six month adjournment of the case in relation to Mr Freeman’s death.

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However, following subsequent objections by Michael Finucane, solicitor for the Maguire family, coroner Dr Clare Keane agreed to adjourn the inquest for three months.

Asked why she was not seeking a shorter adjournment, Ms Woods said six months was required as the commission did not have the same resources as An Garda Síochána. She said Gsoc only received a report on the crash from Garda forensic collision investigators last month.

Ms Woods said Gsoc had received numerous statements from Garda witnesses, but she could not say how many, and from civilian witnesses. The inquest heard the commission had also gathered CCTV footage and images from taxi dash cams which Ms Woods said was “significant”.

Mr Finucane said the need for a further lengthy adjournment was “excessive” as there was a legal imperative for such cases to be dealt with promptly. “I don’t think 13 months [since the deaths] comes into anyone’s definition of prompt.”

Ms Woods said she would be submitting a completed file to Gsoc’s commissioners with a likely recommendation that it be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Dr Keane adjourned the inquest to October 25th to allow for an update on the progress of the investigation.

Solicitors representing relatives of Mr Taylor and Mr Maguire objected to the coroner’s proposal to issue a death certificate. Cian McCann, for the Taylor family, said it was not appropriate to issue a certificate yet as details of medical evidence should be saved until the full inquest.

Dr Keane said the purpose in issuing a death certificate at a preliminary hearing was for “the ease” of the relatives of the deceased. However, Mr McCann claimed his client would not be put at ease by this.

The three men, who had more than 200 convictions between them, had links to a burglary gang.

Their funerals generated controversy, particularly over the conduct of mourners at the requiem Mass and burial of Mr Maguire at St Mary’s Priory church in Tallaght. A screwdriver and torch were brought to the altar as offertory gifts. A poster brought to the church read: “RIP Dean – You know the score, get on the floor, don’t be funny, give me the money.”

A woman who delivered a eulogy said Mr Maguire would not be forgotten, adding: “Sorry for the language, Father – rest in peace, you f***ing legend”.

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