Man (21) arrested in connection with death of Cork pensioner

Woman found husband’s body in pool of blood after coming home from work

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

 

Gardaí have arrested a man in connection with the suspicious death of pensioner whose body was found in a house in Cork city on Monday.

Gardaí investigating the death of Joe O’Callaghan (66) at his home in Douglas are detaining the 21-year-old man for questioning at Togher Garda station.

The man voluntarily presented himself to the authorities.

He is being held under Section 24 of the Criminal Justice Act which allows gardaí to question individuals for up to 24 hours.

Mr O’Callaghan’s body was discovered at his bungalow in a quiet cul de sac at Galway Lane in the suburb of Douglas shortly after 8am on Monday.

The father of three had incurred head injuries and was found in a pool of blood by his Zimbabwean-born wife, Angeline, when she returned from work.

Mr O’Callaghan’s sister, Sheila Thornhill said he had been sick in recent times but was mobile.

“I have never seen him be so good as he has been in the last couple of days, because I have been with him. I am stunned at this now. I saw him on Saturday morning and he was in great form.”

She said she could not believe what had transpired overnight.

“I [got the call] at eight o’clock this morning. He has six more brothers. We are all shocked. He has three grown-up children. Joe was a bit of everything [in work]. He did a lot of things. He was grand.”

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.”

Another neighbour, John O’Sullivan, said that the situation was “scary”.

“It doesn’t happen here. You feel safe.”

Meanwhile, local Independent councillor, Joe Harris, who went to school with Mr O’Callaghan said he was a “happy go lucky” type of man.

“I know Joe all my life. He often did work for me in the garden. This is what he mainly did when he was younger. He had a few falls and his [health] wasn’t great. This is very upsetting. I often had coffee with him. The fall did knock him back a good bit. His health was up and down. The family must be very shocked. There is a lot of them there. ”

‘A bit surreal’

Clement Collins, who lives locally, said he was visiting the lane when he noticed that the area had been cordoned off. The area where Mr O’Callaghan lived is mainly populated by people in their 60s and over.

Mr Collins said he was becoming increasingly concerned at how “cheap” life is in the modern age.

“It is a bit surreal in a way because I am used to seeing it on TV,” said Mr Collins.

“Now this is the real thing. It is like a dream becoming real all of a sudden. It is a bit worrying. The impression I get from the amount of violence is that life is cheap. Before it was important. It is just disturbing to look at. It is a quiet area. It is very sad.”

A postmortem will determine the course of the Garda investigation. Mr O’Callaghan had lived in the property near Douglas GAA club for five years and had spent much of his life in the area having been educated locally.

His death is being treated as suspicious. It is understood that nothing was taken from the bungalow.

Mr O’Callaghan was previously married and was the father of three grown-up children.

The Deputy State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster will carry out a postmortem on the deceased at Cork University Hospital. The scene was preserved for a technical and forensic examination.

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who was in the Galway’s Lane area of Douglas between 10pm on Sunday and 8.30am on Monday to contact Togher Garda station on 021-4947120, The Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111 or any Garda station.