Man in failed murder trial committed suicide


A verdict of death by suicide was recorded by a Cork coroner yesterday in relation to a man whose trial for the murder of a housemate collapsed in the mid-1990s.

Mr Frederick Flannery was charged with the murder of Mr Patrick "Patch" O'Driscoll (33) at a house at Wellington Terrace, Cork in December 1994. His trial collapsed at the Central Criminal Court, and the court ruled that he could never again be prosecuted on the charge.

Mr O'Driscoll, who lost an eye in a car accident, vanished in December 1994 without collecting his £184,000 in compensation for the injury. Two other residents of the Wellington Terrace house - Mr Cathal O'Brien (23), from Wexford, and his friend, Englishman Mr Kevin Ball (42) - had previously disappeared without trace in April 1994.

The mystery of the three missing men resulted in a major Garda investigation, but only the remains of Mr O'Driscoll were ever found.

Mr Flannery was charged with the murder but the trial collapsed at the Central Criminal Court, after the judge ruled that his right to a fair trial had been prevented.

The body of Mr Flannery was discovered at his home in Carrigaline, Cork on May 16th last.Yesterday an inquest heard that the 44-year-old took his life in an outhouse at a farmhouse he had been renting with his partner and her four children.

His partner, Ms Kathleen Mannix, told gardaí that her four year-old daughter discovered Mr Flannery hanging from a beam after she went out to call him inside. A subsequent post-mortem examination by pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster revealed that he died by asphyxia due to suspension by ligature.

There were small traces of cannabis and paracetamol in the deceased's blood.