Man watched match in apartment containing rotting corpse

Apology to dead man’s family “for putting them through hell”

Assistant State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said Mr Hassett’s remains were in a state of putrefaction.

Assistant State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said Mr Hassett’s remains were in a state of putrefaction.

 

An inquest has heard that gardaí found a man watching television in an Ennis apartment which contained the decomposing corpse of a missing person.

At the Co Clare coroner’s court yesterday, Det Garda Kieran Gallagher said he was “overwhelmed” by the smell at the apartment that contained the remains of missing man, Frankie Hassett (25) in July 2011.

Mr Hassett had been missing for almost three weeks. Det Garda Gallagher said that on entering the apartment he found Patrick Ballard watching a football match on television. He went to the shower area, where he found the remains of Mr Hassett under a plastic bin bag.

Mr Hassett had been missing since June 14th and the occupant of the apartment, Bernard Flaherty (37) of Lifford Lodge, had twice told gardaí he did know the whereabouts of the missing man.

Assistant State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said Mr Hassett’s remains were in a state of putrefaction. Mr Hassett’s brother Ian identified the remains from a Celtic tattoo on the deceased man’s body and from wooden rosary beads.

In his deposition, Mr Ballard said he was homeless at the time and Mr Flaherty allowed him to stay at the apartment. He said Mr Flaherty explained the smell in the apartment due to the toilet flooding.

He said: “The smell got worse day after day. Bernard used to spray the flat with body spray to get rid of the smell. I didn’t know that Frank Hassett’s body was in the shower.”

At Ennis Circuit Court earlier this year, Mr Flaherty pleaded guilty to wasting Garda time by concealing Mr Hassett’s body for 19 days and he received a suspended sentence.

At the inquest yesterday, Mr Flaherty made a public apology to members of the Hassett family who were present.

He said: “I apologise to the Hassett family for putting them through hell and to the gardaí for wasting their time.” Dr Curtis said that the cause of Mr Hassett’s death was undetermined.

In her verdict, county coroner Isobel O’Dea said the appropriate verdict was one of misadventure as there was evidence Mr Hassett had taken a concoction of drugs before dying.