Tallaght man in cycling dispute died of heart attack

Local community in Dublin suburb ‘shocked and saddened’ by death of Karl Holmes


a group fight on a Dublin street has revealed he died of a heart attack rather than from injuries he sustained.

The former international boxer Karl Holmes (44) was taken from the scene at Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, west Dublin, by ambulance on Thursday evening to nearby Tallaght Hospital.

However, efforts to save his life were not successful and he was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

Gardai believe the fight he was involved in arose from a dispute over the way a child was riding a bicycle.

The dead man had been jailed in the past for an attack on a man who died three days after Holmes headbutted him.

Gardaí sealed off two houses in the residential area where Thursday’s attack took place. Those properties were searched and underwent a forensic examination by the Garda Technical Bureau.

Following the results of the post mortem Gardai are expected to treat the case as one of violent disorder.

The investigation team at Tallaght Garda station is hopeful that because the incident took place during daylight hours, and involved men from the area, members of the community can provide vital evidence that would solve the crime.

Gardaí believe up to six men were involved in the fight, which escalated quickly from a verbal altercation over the manner in which a child was riding his bike in the area, and that a number of weapons were produced.

It is believed at least one of the men was armed with a hammer and another produced a sword.


Supt Peter Duff, who is leading the inquiry, said the street where the attack took place was preserved immediately after gardaí were called to the scene at about 5.25pm on Thursday.

“We’re appealing for anyone who was in the area between 4.30pm and 6pm and may have seen or heard any altercation to contact us here at Tallaght or any Garda station,” he said.

“A Garda liaison officer has been appointed in the case and house-to-house inquiries are ongoing. Forensic examinations of a number of houses have commenced.”

The dead man is a father of a number of children and lived close to the street where he was attacked.

Holmes was jailed for five years in 1994 for an attack that led to the death of an acquaintance.

However, two years after sentencing he had the remainder of his term suspended and was released after Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he was “a model prisoner” who achieved certificates for courses he did in jail.

Holmes, then aged 25, of Homelawn Drive, Dublin, pleaded guilty to assaulting his 20-year-old neighbour, Thomas Weekes, on October 4th, 1992, occasioning him grievous bodily harm .

Weekes died three days after the attack, which was described as “deplorable and outrageous” by Mr Justice Michael Moriarty in February 1994 when he imposed sentence.

Trifling verbal exchange

Mr Justice Moriarty had ordered a review of the sentence in July 1996.

A public outburst in the court at the first hearing of the case in January 1994 led to a 10-minute adjournment.

At that hearing, Det Sgt Colm Featherstone agreed that Holmes was regarded as a troublemaker in his home area. He was a much more dominant and physical man than his victim.

In 2009, he was back in prison, having defrauded the Revenue Commissioners of nearly €53,000. He was jailed on that occasion for 12 months.

Holmes was the 32nd person to be prosecuted in relation to a particular deception and a total of 90 people appeared before the courts in relation to it.

The scam involved sending contract tax deduction forms to Revenue to claim back tax paid on construction work. However, no work was ever carried out so no tax was paid.

Holmes said he was working for a man who claimed to be a member of a terrorist group and who had threatened to shoot him if he co-operated with gardaí.

Then 38 and living at Home Lawn Drive, Tallaght, he pleaded guilty to defrauding the Revenue by making fraudulent tax repayment claims and assisting others to do so, between February and June 2003. Sgt Michael McKenna said Holmes owed €5,000 to the unnamed man who suggested he repay it by engaging in the deception and recruiting others to do so.