The head of a dismembered 17-year-old boy may have been due to be delivered to a crime boss as a ‘major warning’.
Remains of Keane Mulready-Woods were found in a sports bag on a Dublin estate on Monday.
Two days later, his head was recovered from a burning car, while his torso is yet to be found.
Gardaí, Irish Police, received intelligence that Keane had been murdered and mutilated by sick gang rivals – with speculation his head was to be delivered to gang boss Cornelius Price as a “major warning”.
He is the bitter rival of a 35-year-old chief suspect in the case, reports the Irish Independent.
Keane was said to have links to both sides of the divide in Drogheda and also associated with an infamous north Dublin group.
Sources have claimed Keane had “got in way above his head” in relation to his criminal associations.
He was due to turn 18 next month.
Last year, he was given a suspended four-month jail sentence for a terrifying campaign of intimidation and harassment against a local family .
He was also known to gardaí for minor drugs and road traffic offences.
Confirming the human remains were those of Keane, Drogheda’s Garda Chief Christy Mangan said: “This is a brutal and savage attack on a child – it is completely unacceptable in any normal democratic society.
“It is important to remember that Keane was a child, a young boy trying to find his way of life. He has now lost his life and his family have lost their loving son.
“We’re there to protect and serve the public, but there are a number of groups who are interested in controlling certain parts of society and their own lifestyles through drugs and intimidation.
“We’re not going to allow that to happen.
“We’re there to protect the people of Drogheda and will certainly do that in a very robust fashion.”
The last known contact Keane had with family is a call to a woman at 7pm on Sunday.
No arrests have been made so far, but extensive police searches continue in the Drogheda area.
In the wake of the shocking discoveries, his loved ones took to social media to mourn his death.
Courtney Mulready posted online: “You are so special in my life that I know no other person will be able to take your place my brother.”
Kelly Mulready said: “Fly high cuz. You were one of a kind! The best scrambler rider in Drogheda! Love you so much.”