Irish tycoon 'had gun held to his head during eight-month captivity'
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Wednesday 06 February 2013
The brother of a businessman found wandering dishevelled in rural Ireland after an eight-month absence has said a gun was held to his head and his life threatened several times while he was held captive.
Many mysteries persist about the case of the flamboyant international property developer, Kevin McGeever, who was found in an emaciated state last week with the word “thief” marked on his forehead.
Mr McGeever, 68, is being treated for malnutrition and dehydration in hospital. He is said to have spoken to police only in snatches, and has yet to be fully questioned.
Meanwhile, police are looking into his property dealings, in a business empire he built stretching from Dubai to America.
One theory is he was abducted and held hostage for money but there is no definitive word on whether a ransom was paid for his release.
Mr McGeever went missing last June from his mansion in Galway.
Brendan appeared on Irish radio to give an account of what his brother had told him during a hospital visit. He said Kevin now weighed only around seven stone and had had a beard “halfway down his chest” when he was found.
He said: “They handed him notes to look at, saying ‘You have two more days to live’. They put a gun to his forehead one time and he said, ‘Do it now, do it now, I have made my peace with my God.’ That happened quite a few times.”
He said the captors never spoke during the eight months, covering their faces so he could see only their eyes. He was not blindfolded but was kept in a dark freight container and physically abused. He was given plastic sheeting for warmth.
Brendan was shocked by his brother’s appearance. “He looked like a weather-beaten 90-year-old man who had just been released from a concentration camp. He was able to speak, his voice was good, but I shook his hand and it was like taking the hand of a child.”
He said his brother had described media speculation about Russian mafia involvement in his kidnapping as nonsense.
Initially he had not been worried about his disappearance last May but became concerned when Kevin’s partner Siobhan O’Callaghan received two texts saying he was sorry for being away. “That sounded strange,” he said.
He said his family had concerns about Kevin’s health, adding: “I think recovery is going to be a long time, if ever”.
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