Gardaí rule out foul play in death of Cobh man

Investigators believe Leo Owens died from injuries sustained in a fall at his home

Leo  Owens had been found at the bottom of stairs on a first floor landing in the Cobh house at around 5pm by a neighbour who lived in another flat in the building. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Leo Owens had been found at the bottom of stairs on a first floor landing in the Cobh house at around 5pm by a neighbour who lived in another flat in the building. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Gardaí investigating the death of a 48-year-old man whose body was found in Co Cork on Tuesday evening have ruled out foul play after a post mortem confirmed there was nothing suspicious about the death.

Investigating officers are satisfied Leo Owens died from injuries suffered in a fall on stairs in a house at Harbour Hill in Cobh where he had been renting an apartment for the last 19 years.

A postmortem on Wednesday morning by assistant state pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster ruled out assault as the cause of Mr Owens death. It found his injures were consistent with a fall down the stairs.

Mr Owens had been found at the bottom of stairs on a first floor landing in the house at around 5pm by a neighbour who lived in another flat in the building.

Emergency services were alerted and paramedics attended to Mr Owens but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Gardaí cordoned off the house as they began an investigation.

Dr Bolster carried out a preliminary examination of the scene before giving the go-ahead for Mr Owens’ body to be removed from the house for a postmortem.

Members of the Cork County Fire Service from Cobh assisted in removing the body from the building and he was taken to Cork University Hospital for a postmortem on Wednesday.

Dr Bolster’s findings at postmortem will now be included in a file which gardaí will prepare for an inquest at the South Cork Coroner’s Court.

Earlier this year, Mr Owens featured in a Prime Time programme on homelessness as a result of his fighting attempts to evict him from his apartment.

In a subsequent interview with The Irish Examiner, Mr Owens spoke of his determination to remain in the house at Harbour Hill despite the efforts of a new landlord to have him evicted.

“This is my home for the last 19 years. There is nowhere else to live around Cobh. I will be without a house, definitely, if the landlord forces me out,” Mr Owens told the newspaper.

Mr Owens was the son of former Workers Party Cllr Leo Owens Snr and the uncle of talented rugby player, Gavin Owens who lost a leg when he was struck by a train in Australia in 2012.