Murder inquiry after Kerry death

Mon, Apr 23, 2012, 01:00

Gardaí in Co Kerry have begun a murder inquiry following the death of a man who was initially thought to have died as a result of smoke inhalation in a house fire.

Gardaí had initially thought James Cahillane (58) died of injuries suffered when a fire broke out at his home at Ardraw, Beaufort, between Killarney and Killorglin.

However, a postmortem by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster revealed he had received head injuries. Gardaí now believe the injuries were consistent with a violent assault.

Mr Cahillane’s funeral took place yesterday.

Gardai said at a press conference in Killorglin this afternoon that some 40 officers are involved in the murder hunt.

House to house inquiries of the Ardraw are are being conducted and a number of areas are being searched for a possible weapon.

Tests are also still under way to determine exactly how the fire started and to confirm if it was malicious, as suspected. Close circuit television from the town is being examined

Gardaí have not ruled out burglary and the possibility Mr Cahillane may have been attacked by robbers.

A number of people who socialised with Mr Cahillane on Wednesday have already come forward, and the taxi driver had come forward immediately, said Supt John Gilligan.

Mr Cahillane, the father of two grown up children, had finished work at the financial services centre, Fexco, in Killorglin where he worked as an electrician , at 5.30 pm and had come into the central square area to socialise and do some shopping. A keen sports fan, he watched the Chelsea-Barcelona soccer match and took a taxi home at 10.50pm

At 2.10am, a neighbour heard a loud bang and arrived to find Mr Cahillane’s house “totally engulfed in fire”, Supt Gilligan said.

There was no suggestion of any kind of altercation in the pub, he said. “He was a quiet, inoffensive hard-working man who lived a quiet life,” he said.