Cyril McGuinness, the convicted felon who was considered a key suspect in the kidnapping and torture of a businessman from Northern Ireland (BBC Spotlight / PA)

Cyril McGuinness, the convicted felon who was considered a key suspect in the kidnapping and torture of a businessman from Northern Ireland (BBC Spotlight / PA)
Sean Quinn, former billionaire businessman (Niall Carson / PA)

A convicted criminal considered a key suspect in the kidnapping and torture of a businessman from Northern Ireland died during a police raid in England.

The suspect, understood by the US news agency as a gangster and smuggler Cyril McGuinness, was taken ill while the Derbyshire police was searching a house he was living in the Buxton area on Friday morning. . It is thought that he had a heart attack.

The raid was part of a series of coordinated search operations, mostly focused on the border area of ​​Ireland, linked to the brutal attack by the director of Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), Kevin Lunney, in September.

Mr. Lunney, 50, was abducted outside his home near Derrylin, County Fermanagh, and taken to a horse box across the border where he was savagely beaten.

His assailants broke his leg, sliced ​​his nails and face with a Stanley knife, carved QIH on his chest and sprinkled the father of six children in bleach.

Sean Quinn, former billionaire businessman (Niall Carson / PA)

The aggression, in which his attackers demanded his resignation, was the most serious of a five-year intimidation campaign targeting the companies and leaders who now control the corporate portfolio of the deposed tycoon. Sean Quinn, once Ireland's richest.

The Independent Police Conduct Office (IOPC) has initiated an investigation into the circumstances of McGuinness's death.

The PA understands that the police found documents, laptops and other evidence on the Buxton property, where McGuinness collapsed.

One source told PA that the evidence found at home would be a key part of the attack investigation and would be reviewed to determine if it could be linked to any "payer" funding the campaign.

"It seems that the house where he was hiding was his headquarters to store data and information," said the source.

The source said McGuinness thought he was in a secure home and had not attracted the attention of the British police.

"He was lying low and was not expecting to be caught," the source said.

At a press conference in Dublin to announce that the police had opened a joint investigation into QIH attacks all over Ireland, the police chief 's assistance service has been investigating. Northern Ireland, Mark Hamilton, described the death as "very unfortunate".

"The PSNI has ordered a search in England with the support of police officers and a report says that one man has died, which is very unfortunate," he said.

"It's now a question of investigation in England distinct from this ongoing investigation."

McGuinness, 54, from the Derrylin area, was nicknamed "Dublin Jimmy".

It is understood that he was treated as the main suspect in the investigation into Mr. Lunney's abduction.

Kevin Lunney was abducted from his home in Co Fermanagh (BBC Spotlight / PA)

It is believed that McGuinness, who was well known to authorities on both sides of the border, was "lying" in England, as the public and police focused on crime.

In a statement, the Derbyshire police said: "Our officers launched a search warrant at an address in Buxton this morning on behalf of the Northern Ireland Police Service.

"Shortly after the execution of this warrant at 7:30, a 54-year-old man inside the property was taken ill.

"Although our officers administered first aid on the scene and asked the help of paramedics, the man died later.

"We referred to the Independent Police Conduct Office (IOPC), which opened an independent investigation into the circumstances.

"As a result, we are unable to make any further comments."

Mr. Lunney spoke publicly about his event for the first time this week in a powerful TV interview.

A sinister element of the community in the Fermanagh / Cavan border area, where the QIH companies are based, continues to seek revenge for the demise of Mr. Quinn's empire.

The Quinn family has always condemned and distanced themselves from those who attack the new owners.

Before Friday, no one had been arrested as police on both sides of the border were under increasing pressure to bring the perpetrators to justice.

On Friday morning, the Garda searched five locations in Cavan County, three in Longford County and four in Dublin. The premises were a mix of domestic housing and commercial premises.

PSNI conducted a search at five locations in Derrylin.

Hamilton was speaking at Garda headquarters with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to announce that police and prosecutors on both sides of the border had agreed to create a decisive "joint investigation" into the campaign of intimidation.

Mr Harris described the agreement, which will be overseen by the Eurojust European law agency, as an "important step forward".

"These (attacks) have obviously aroused the public's anxiety lately and we want to be seen as acting in a strong and robust way to show that there is no room for crime nowhere. on the island of Ireland and as a police force, cooperate in the strongest possible way to bring the perpetrators to justice, "he said.

About the reported death in Derbyshire, Mr. Harris said: "That's what we think, but this case took place during a search in England and the authorities are suing him."

Asked that the joint investigation would target the "payer" responsible for the intimidation campaign, Mr. Hamilton called for "patience".

He added that Friday's research was "a phase" of the investigation and that there would be "other phases to come".

Hamilton added, "We have worked hard to make Fermanagh residents feel safe during this time and we are working closely together on both sides of the border to do that."

Similarly, Mr. Harris stated that Gardai was determined to protect the inhabitants of the town of Co Cavan.

"These are well funded surveys, they are moving forward, they are progressing," he said.

"At the same time, we are committed to maintaining law and order in Cavan County and assuring residents that the rule of law will prevail."

QIH's management welcomed the research operations.

"QIH welcomes the joint investigative efforts made during this morning's coordinated search by Gardai, PSNI and the Derbyshire Police," said a spokesman.

"Excavations mark an important step in bringing to justice those involved in the attacks on QIH personnel.

"We encourage anyone with information to contact Gardai or the PSNI confidentially."