Victim of violent Cork death may have been homeless man in 50s
Gardaí expected to launch murder inquiry after decapitated remains found in derelict house
The remains of the deceased are taken from the scene at Castlegreina House on the Boreenmanna Road, Cork where the body of the man was found. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Gardaí investigating the violent death of a man found in Cork city believe they may have identified the victim as a homeless man in his 50s who has not been seen since Friday.
They are set to launch a murder investigation after the body of the man with severe injuries was found in the grounds of Castlegreina House on the Boreenmanna Road on Cork’s southside. The remains were discovered at about 4pm on Saturday by a neighbour who was searching for their cat.
Senior gardaí would not comment on the nature of the man’s injuries but it is understood attempts to identify the remains were hampered because he had been decapitated and had both arms removed.
An initial search of the grounds found no trace of the man’s dismembered body parts but it is understood that gardaí on Saturday night recovered the man’s head and limbs elsewhere on the derelict property.
Det Supt Mick Comyns of Anglesea Street Garda station said gardaí were hoping a postmortem being conducted by Locum State Pathologist, Dr Heidi Okkers at Cork University Hospital would help progress their investigation significantly .
He said gardaí hoped the postmortem would tell how exactly the man died and when he died. He also hoped it would shed some light on his identity but he refused to be drawn on speculation as to who the man might be.
Detectives are keeping an open mind on whether the man may have been killed elsewhere and his body brought to the derelict house for disposal or whether he was killed in the grounds of the castellated two-storey house.
Garda technical experts carried out a detailed forensic examination of the grounds on Sunday.
While gardaí are expected to wait until they receive the results of the postmortem before they formally launch a murder inquiry, informed sources say that they are satisfied the man’s injuries could not have been self-inflicted.
On Sunday, gardaí moved to reassure any one contacting them with information that any they provide will be treated with the utmost confidence by investigators.
They appealed to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity at Castlegreina House in recent days to contact them.
It is believed the deceased man was a member of the homeless community in Cork. Det Supt Comyns was clear members of the homeless community had nothing to fear if they contacted gardaí with information.
Det Supt Comyns moved to reassure local people that the general area is properly policed and there were local patrols in the area.
He said gardaí had received complaints some months back about people drinking in the grounds of the house but they were dealt with by gardaí and the area had been quiet in more recent times.
Gardaí began door-to-door inquiries in the Boreenmanna Road and the nearby Rockboro Avenue area and they have also begun harvesting CCTV footage from the area which is at the city end of the Boreenmanna Road.
Locals say the house, which dates from 1892, has been derelict for more than a year since the previous occupant went into a nursing home.
“A lot of homeless people have been going in drinking in the grounds there in recent times and only a few months back gardaí caught two guys on the roof of the house,” said one local.
It is understood the house is boarded up but that access to the grounds could be gained relatively easily as a pedestrian gateway was missing a door.
Gardaí have yet to identify the deceased but they have begun liaising with Cork Simon who run a nearby residential centre on Boreenmanna Road to see if any homeless person has been reported missing .
Their initial inquiries led them to focus on a homeless man in his 50s, originally from the northside of Cork city, who has not been seen by those providing services to the homeless in the city since Friday.
However, gardaí say that they will not be in a position to formally confirm the identity of the deceased until the postmortem examination is complete.
Meanwhile, gardaí have appealed for witnesses or anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the Boreenmanna Road area since Christmas Day to contact Bridewell Garda station on 021-4943330.