Man found murdered at derelict Cork house ‘gentle and kind’, funeral hears

Frankie Dunne (64) remembered as a ‘good natured man’ and loving to all he met

The remains of Francis (Frankie) Dunne are carried from Saint Mary’s on the Hill Church, Knocknaheeny, Cork. Photograph:  Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The remains of Francis (Frankie) Dunne are carried from Saint Mary’s on the Hill Church, Knocknaheeny, Cork. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision


A father of three whose dismembered body was found on the grounds of a derelict house in Cork has been remembered as a “good natured man” who in spite of battling addiction and homelessness was never less than loving to all those he met.

The body of Francis ‘Frankie’ Dunne was found on the grounds of Castlegreina House on Boreenmanna Road in Cork city on December 28th by a neighbour who was out looking for a missing cat.

Mr Dunne (64) was last seen alive on December 27th leaving Cork Simon’s high support homeless centre Clanmornin House on the Boreenmanna Road on the southside of the city. He lived onsite with 10 other formerly homeless people. He also received support from his family.

At his funeral Mass at St Mary’s on the Hill church, in Knocknaheeny in Cork, his nieces Breda and Yvonne said that the family would forever cherish their memories of seeing their uncle on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

It was a simple family Christmas with Mr Dunne joining in the festivities and watching Mr Bean on television, they said.

Breda told mourners Mr Dunne was a “character” who touched the lives of all he met. He loved horse racing, fixing broken phones and second hand shops. He was never happier than when he had found bargains for his loved ones.

Breda said her “uncle, godfather and good friend” was noted for his wit.

Frankie Dunne was alive on the evening of December 27th when he was seen leaving a Cork Simon facility
Frankie Dunne was alive on the evening of December 27th when he was seen leaving a Cork Simon facility

“He used go visit Nanny Dunne’s grave in Blackrock (in Cork) but in true Frankie style he would go visit her at midnight. I said, ‘why do you visit her at midnight?’ And he said ‘all the other people in their graves will be asleep. And I can chat to my mum by myself.’”

“He always made me laugh with his sense of humour. We miss you so much Uncle Frankie. He was so gentle and kind.”

She added that while Jesus was noted for changing water into wine, her uncle did the opposite when he visited but he was such a “professional” that the bottle would look untouched.

He fought his demons but was never anything other than kindness personified, the church was told.

Breda and her uncle watched Animal Planet documentaries on television together. Breda said when she got married he bought her the box set in a gesture which she found “touching.”

Meanwhile, parish priest Fr Gregory Howard, who celebrated the Mass said that the Dunne family had been robbed of their loved one in the most callous fashion.

He emphasised that the relatives of the late Mr Dunne were touched by the support they had received and by the great outpouring of love for the deceased.

“Some messages on Twitter describe Frankie as ‘a true friend’, ‘a gentle soul’, ‘a kind man’ who had ‘a heart of gold,’” Fr Howard said.

“You, the family, described him to me as a person who possessed an inquisitive mind.

“You said, and I quote: ‘Frankie was interested in everything, nature, informing himself, interested in racing, cooking” (he recently cooked a coddle for his family.) He loved tripe and drisheen. He tried to make people laugh. Frankie never held a grudge’”.

Fr Howard said many people reached out to Mr Dunne - “his family, his friends and the staff and residents of Clanmornin House, Boreenmanna Road, as well as the countless and unknown people who were kind to him.”

“Expressions of thanks must be given to the Simon Community who give shelter and refuge to Frankie and to many, many people without houses.”

Fr Howard urged mourners to show love to the homeless community.

“Finally, the greatest lesson of all is this. The next homeless person we meet, we might treat them with a little more sympathy and kindness. For whatever we do to the least of our sisters and brothers, we do it to Jesus,” he said.

Mr Dunne hailed from a musical family and his son and nieces sang at the Mass.

Offertory gifts included Scrabble and a CD. Poignantly a blanket was brought to the altar signifying his time as a homeless person.

Mr Dunne was buried at St Michael’s cemetery in Blackrock in Cork city.

Forty gardaí are working on the murder investigation. They are liaising with Interpol and the Police Service of Northern Ireland in a bid to trace a potential witness in the case.

It is believed that a witness in the case may have taken a flight from Belfast to Edinburgh, Scotland and then on to Eastern Europe in the days following the murder.

The results of the postmortem have not been released for operation reasons.

The body of the deceased was found decapitated and with both arms missing.

Gardaí found the head and the body following a search of Castlegreine House, an old period house dating back to 1892 which was formerly the home of two elderly ladies. One passed away in recent years whilst the second is in a home.

Investigating gardai had to use his fingerprints to identify Mr Dunne as his injuries were so severe.

Gardaí have urged witnesses or persons with information about the murder to come forward.

It is not known if the man was killed at the scene or if his body was disposed of on the grounds of the two-storey detached period house. Mr Dunne incurred a savage beating and severe trauma.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bridewell Garda station on 021 4943330, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.