Cork homeless man who died after assault is named locally

Murder investigation opened after man found unconscious in Mardyke Walk area

Timothy Hourihane had been a chef: ‘He served Elton John and Lionel Richie. He loved his food’

Timothy Hourihane had been a chef: ‘He served Elton John and Lionel Richie. He loved his food’

 

A murder investigation is under way in Cork after a postmortem revealed a homeless man died from injuries sustained in an assault on Sunday morning.

The deceased, named locally as separated father-of-one Timothy Hourihane (53), from West Cork, was found with serious injuries by members of Cork City Fire Brigade when they were called to a fire at a tent on a green area on the Mardyke at about 12.40am.

One unit of Cork City Fire Brigade responded to the call and spent over an hour extinguishing the blaze at a tent which had been pitched under a tree on the green area opposite the Western Road entrance to University College Cork.

However, firefighters found the injured man in a serious condition with serious head and upper body injuries up to 10 metres away near a boundary wall. The man was immediately rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital.

Mr Hourihane had been interviewed for The Irish Times on Christmas Day 2017, at Penny Dinners charity on Hanover Street.

Det Supt Mick Comyns of Anglesea Street Garda Station confirmed the postmortem by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster found the man had suffered injuries consistent with an assault.

“The man does not have injuries consistent with being in a fire so we do not believe he was in the tent when it was set alight,” Det Supt Comyns said.

“We are appealing for witnesses – for anyone who was in the area from 11pm on Saturday to 1am on Sunday and particularly if they saw anything of a suspicious nature to contact us at Anglesea St Garda Station on 021-4522000.”

The scene of a serious assault of a man at the Mardyke in Cork. The assault took place near a tent which was then set alight. Photograph: Provision
The scene of a serious assault of a man at the Mardyke in Cork. The assault took place near a tent which was then set alight. Photograph: Provision

There may have been people staying in the many guesthouses along the nearby Western Road who may have been returning to their accommodation late on Saturday night who may have witnessed the incident, he added.

“We believe there was some shouting – perhaps not during the incident itself but perhaps earlier so anyone at all who has any information that can help us, including taxi drivers with dashcams, we would ask them to contact us.”

Bantry-native

Gardaí have yet to formally identify the victim but it’s understood that he was from the Bantry area in West Cork who had been living rough in the city for some time.

A Garda source said gardaí may have to resort to DNA evidence or dental records to formally identify the deceased. There is no evidence to suggest any implements or weapons were used and the man may have been kicked and punched repeatedly in the head.

Garda technical experts are yet to find evidence of any accelerant such as petrol being used to burn the man’s tent.

The green area, which is just off the Mardyke Walk, has become home to up 15 homeless people in recent months.

Detectives have begun interviewing and taking witness statements from about 15 people living in the tents in the hope that they might be able to shed some light on the sequence of events which led to the fatal assault.

It’s understood that those living in the tented area include Irish, Polish, Lithuanian and Britons.

Gardaí are keeping an open mind on the motive for the fatal assault, which comes almost exactly a month after a 40-year-old man, availing of soup kitchen services, was seriously assaulted on Patrick Street on September 12th.

The victim of that assault, who is from the Knockneheeny area of Cork’s northside, remains in a critical condition at Cork University Hospital where his family is maintaining a bedside vigil.

Gardaí arrested a man at the tented village on the Mardyke on Friday for questioning in relation to that assault before being released without charge.

Gardaí don’t believe there is any link between the two assaults at this stage.