AN IRISH property developer who had been missing for eight months has been found ‘injured, distressed and starving’ at the side of a rural road in Ballinamore, county Leitrim, according to police.
A local couple were out walking when they came across tycoon Kevin McGeever in a disorientated state on Tuesday evening. He was covered in a plastic bag and without any shoes.
The 68-year-old, who traded in property in the Middle East during Ireland’s Celtic Tiger boom, told Irish police that he was abducted by three masked men at gunpoint from the garden of his mansion home at Craughwell, Co Galway, last May.
Mr McGeever, who is currently in hospital, said the kidnappers had demanded a ransom for his safe release but he did not know whether a ransom had been paid. He has said that he cannot remember what had happened to him while he was abducted.
According to some reports, Mr McGeever had been the victim of a criminal gang from Russia, who had carved the word ‘thief’ across his forehead.
Catherine Vallely who discovered Mr McGeever in the middle of a quiet road on the Leitrim-Cavan border, in the north-west of Ireland, said she initially thought the businessman was a traffic cone: “He had red trousers that made me think it was a cone in the middle of the road.
“When the man got into our car he told us he had no shoes on. He said three men threw him out of a van,” Ms Vallely said.
“The man said his name was Kevin and he didn’t realise he was in Leitrim. He didn’t even know the month,” she said. The couple brought him straight to Ballinamore police station.
Sinn Féin Councillor Martin Kenny from Ballinamore, who knows the couple who found the man, said they had been driving home from Enniskillen when they came upon him on the road.
“They went to the local garda (police) station and they got him tea and biscuits. He gobbled up the biscuits as he was ravenous so they got him some curry chips. They discovered he had been missing for the past eight months and that he was in fact an international high flyer. He was well spoken, intelligent and well educated,” Mr Kenny said.
Irish police said Mr McGeever was thin and weak when he was found. He had lost a significant amount of weight and had a lengthy beard and long fingernails. The marking on his forehead was thought to have been made with a knife.
Mr McGeever, who owned a personal helicopter and a fleet of cars including a JT22 Porsche, was responsible for one of the largest mansions built during the boom, a lavish €3m property in Craughwell, county Galway nicknamed ‘Nirvana’. He ran a successful property business selling luxury homes in Dubai to wealthy Irish and British clients.
However, like many Irish property developers, his fortunes changed dramatically in the wake of the recession in 2008 and the collapse of Ireland’s property market. When Mr McGeever was reported as missing to police last year by his partner Siobhan O’Callaghan his last known address was in Clontarf in North Dublin.
“It’s all come as a real shock. We hadn’t heard from him in such a long time. We just can’t believe that he was found walking along a road in such a strange state,” a family member said.
Mr McGeever was taken to Mullingar General Hospital, where he was treated for malnutrition and dehydration. Irish police are still trying to establish the circumstances surround Mr McGeever’s disappearance.