Homeless man killed in Cork may have been victim of spontaneous attack

Gardaí investigating Timmy Hourihane’s death take witness statements from over 50 people

Gardaí believe that a 53-year-old homeless man killed in Cork city over the weekend was the victim of a spontaneous attack by possibly more than one person, rather than a planned assault.

Detectives investigating the killing of Timmy Hourihane on the Mardyke early on Sunday have taken witness statements from more than 50 people as they attempt to piece together what happened to him.

Gardaí have been tracing Mr Hourihane’s movements on Saturday and believe he may have been a victim of an assault earlier in the day. They have established that he did not receive any hospital treatment following that incident.

Mr Hourihane told The Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s Red FM last November that he had been attacked three times on the streets of Cork and that he feared for his safety as a result of these incidents.


“I ended up in hospital because of those attacks,” he said. “The last attack happened two weeks ago and the person stomped on my hand. I ended up with fractures on my hand plus fractures down my right side. My actual rib went in to my lung.”

Mr Hourihane said that he did not have “a cent” in his pockets when he was attacked but his assailants probably thought he had money. He said he did not feel safe on the city’s streets at night as a consequence.

A former chef who worked with the Hilton Group in the UK, Mr Hourihane returned to Ireland following the break-up of his marriage. He later lapsed into alcoholism following the death of his partner, Michael, from cancer.

A native of the Sheep's Head Peninsula near Bantry, Mr Hourihane is survived by his mother, Cathy, a brother and four sisters, as well as his 23-year-old son, Elliott, who lives in the UK.

Mr Hourihane was one of a number of homeless people living in tents on a green area on the Mardyke in Cork city.

Witness statements

Detectives have taken witness statements from about 18 homeless men and women living in tents on the Mardyke and have started cross-checking their accounts to see if anyone witnessed the attack on Mr Hourihane.

They have also taken clothing and footwear from a number of people living in the tents and have sent them for forensic analysis.

Gardaí believe that Mr Hourihane would have bled heavily due to the violent nature of the assault and that his blood may have ended up on the clothes and footwear of whoever attacked him.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster found no evidence of Mr Hourihane being attacked with a weapon or implement, but his injuries were so severe that gardaí are examining if he was attacked by more than one person.

Cork City Council issued a statement on Monday in which it confirmed that Mr Hourihane had presented to homeless services in the city on a number of occasions over a period of several years.

According to the council, Mr Hourihane had been granted a permanent social housing tenancy with the necessary housing supports by agencies helping people to move on from homelessness.

However, it is understood that he failed to take up the offer of social housing tenancy but that Cork Simon’s outreach team had remained in contact with him over the past number of years.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times