Taxi driver may have taken suspects from murder scene

Man and woman still being held over death of Thomas Horan (63) in Irishtown

A garda stands outside  Cambridge Court in Irishtown, Dublin 4 where  Thomas Horan was murdered earlier this week. Photograph: Collins Photos

A garda stands outside Cambridge Court in Irishtown, Dublin 4 where Thomas Horan was murdered earlier this week. Photograph: Collins Photos

Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 15:46

Gardaí investigating the murder of 63-year-old Thomas Horan in the housing block where he lived believe a taxi driver may have unwittingly transported the chief suspects from the crime scene.

They have appealed for any drivers who may have carried a man and woman to or from the Irishtown area of Dublin’s south inner city between 2am and 4am on Monday to come forward and aid the investigation.

The suspects, a 27-year-old man and 37-year-old woman, were still being questioned at Irishtown and Donnybrook Garda stations this afternoon. They had their initial period of detention extended by a further 12 hours and must be charged or released by tonight.

Mr Horan was originally from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, but spent most of his adult life in Dublin. His ex-wife lives in the south inner city while his daughter is abroad. He had an intellectual disability and worked at times as a handyman.

The suspects for his murder, who are related, are known to gardaí for robbery and public order offences and were both detained on the north side of the city yesterday afternoon by detectives from Irishtown.

Gardaí believe they knew the dead man and the female suspect had lived around the Irishtown area for a period.

The investigating team is working on the theory Mr Horan invited his killers into his home at Cambridge Court, Cambridge Road late on Sunday night or into the early hours of Monday morning.

Gardaí believe they tried to rob the victim and that during the course of that incident Mr Horan was strangled before the suspects fled the scene.

The first gardaí learned of any issue at the flat, which is part of a complex for older people run by Dublin City Council, was when a woman rang 999 at about 4am on Monday to report Mr Horan was injured at his home.

Gardaí believe the caller was the woman now in custody. They suspect she panicked in the immediate aftermath of the robbery, and believing Mr Horan to be badly injured, decided to anonymously alert the emergency services.

When gardaí and paramedics arrived they found Mr Horan in the bedroom of his ground floor flat, where he lived alone. Efforts were made to revive him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Personnel shortages at the State Pathologist’s Office meant the postmortem on the dead man’s remains was not completed until yesterday afternoon, more than two days after he died.

It concluded he was strangled and that he had suffered blunt force trauma to the body during an assault. A murder inquiry was begun.

However, despite the unusual pathology delay in confirming foul play and the fact there were no signs of serious injury on Mr Horan’s body, gardaí in Irishtown suspected third party involvement from the outset and were treating the case as a homicide.

The dead man’s flat was sealed off after gardaí arrived at the scene in the early hours of Monday morning and has since undergone an examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.

Gardaí have also been gathering CCTV footage from businesses on the streets near the murder scene and sources said they were satisfied with the way the investigation was progressing.

Anybody with information or any taxi drivers who believe they carried a man and woman to or from the area close to the crime scene is asked to contact gardaí in Irishtown at (01) 6669600.

Irish Times News



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