Death of Cork pensioner (66) upgraded to murder inquiry

Man (21) released in investigation into death of Cork pensioner

GardaÍ and neighbours at the scene where a body was found at Galway Lane, Douglas, Cork. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

GardaÍ and neighbours at the scene where a body was found at Galway Lane, Douglas, Cork. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

 

Gardai are treating as murder the death of pensioner who was found in a pool of blood on Monday morning following an attack at his home in Douglas on the southside of Cork.

Joe O’Callaghan (66) was discovered in the hallway of his bungalow in Galway’s Lane by his wife Angeline shortly after 8am on Monday when she returned from a night shift at work.

She raised the alarm when she walked in on her husband who had been subjected to a violent death. It is understood the door was forced in but nothing was taken. 

A post mortem examination was carried out at Cork University Hospital on Tuesday by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster. The results have not been released for operational reasons. However, the investigation has been upgraded to murder. It is understood the father of three sustained head injuries and died following an attack.

A man in his early 20s, who voluntarily presented himself to gardaí, has been released from Togher Garda Station where he was being held in relation to the death of Mr O’Callaghan. He was known to the deceased. Gardaí said a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

A forensic examination of the bungalow where the murder occurred has now been concluded. Door to door enquiries have been carried out and gardaí are checking CCTV footage in the area.

Local man Dermot Keane said there was a sense of shock in the community and that he had talked to people in the local shopping centre about the tragedy. 

“ He [Joe] was a very nice fellow who would talk to everyone. There is a sense of fear around.”

Mr O’Callaghan lived in a cul de sac comprised of sheltered housing. 

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said he heard a noise coming from the house at around 1am. 

“I heard shouting and a loud bang. I heard someone shouting ‘open the f***ing door’ two times. Then I heard what I thought was the sound of a door banging.”

He only realised the extent of what had occurred when he got up the following morning and saw gardaí outside the house.

Mr O’Callaghan’s sister, Sheila Thornhill, said her brother had experienced ill health in recent years but was in “good form”, adding he “was always happy in himself” even amid his health issues. 

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who was in the Galway Lane area of Douglas between 10pm on Sunday and 8:30am yesterday to contact Togher Garda station on 021-4947120, The Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111 or any Garda station.