‘It only gets worse’: Family of man found dismembered seek answers
Remains of Mark Burke discovered at waste recycling plan in west Dublin
They were the final known footsteps of a father of seven in the days before his dismembered body was recovered at a waste recycling plant in west Dublin.
Mark Burke left Dún Laoghaire district court, walked down the main street and, his family believe, into Eblana Avenue where he disappeared. At some stage he was violently attacked and cut apart with tools.
His family in Sandyford, Dublin have to live with the nature of his death. Now they are determined to find out why he was murdered and, crucially, by whom.
“For what happened to Mark, it was totally impossible for just one person to know about it,” said his partner Tina as she walked through Dún Laoghaire with her children on Saturday afternoon as part of public march to trace his final movements and hopefully jog people’s memories.
“It’s very hard for the kids mostly. It was really, really tough. They are getting older now and they can read newspapers and see what’s happened.”
Mr Burke disappeared on July 28th, 2014 after a court appearance in the town. The first of his scattered remains were located at Thornton’s Recycling facility in Ballyfermot on the 31st. Searches over the following days located about 60 per cent of his body but key parts - teeth, face and internal organs - were never found.
An inquest hearing in April heard of proof tools has been used to dismember his remains. It appears efforts were also made to dissolve them with acid.
Hundreds of people have been interviewed but the garda investigation is unsolved and so his family remain in a “tortured existence”.
“I can’t even explain how hard it is,” his father Noel said in the build up to Saturday’s march.
He led the gathering of about 50 friends and family through the town, led by a bagpiper and wearing t-shirts with a photograph and the words “A Voice for Mark”. They handed out flyers to passing pedestrians.
Eblana Avenue, they explained, was full of skips at the time with construction work ongoing in the area and it would have been an obvious destination for Mark with an off licence nearby. The 36-year-old was a heavy drinker having slipped into serious depression some years previously.
“We tried our hardest to get him help. There was nothing we hadn’t done but whatever was going on in his head he was having none of it,” Noel said.
“He was a normal young fella growing up. He never gave me an ounce of trouble. He just closed the curtains one day and he wouldn’t speak to anybody and started drinking cans.”
His death was not the first time he had encountered extreme violence. Mark had been savagely attacked in 2009 and in 2010, both incidents leaving him with serious head injuries and in a critical condition.
When his remains were first discovered, it was the indications of brain surgery reported in the media that awakened his family’s worst fears.
It was not unusual for Mark to disappear for weeks at a time but he usually turned up.
“When it came up on the TV of a man’s remains being recovered someone said that it looked to be foreign and that turned us off the scent,” explained Noel.
“But it was in my head all the time. I went to the guards to report him missing and I said I think that’s my son Mark.
“So they went down and took a [DNA]swab off his mother and it matched. I will never get over it. And it only gets worse.”
The Burke family have appealed for anyone within information to contact gardai.