Cork man quizzed over brutal murder slams 'media bulls**t'

Cathal O'Sullivan
Cathal O'Sullivan

A Cork man quizzed by gardai over the brutal murder of mum-of-three Nicola Collins has lashed out at media coverage of her death, describing it as "bulls**t".

Cathal O'Sullivan is now back living in the Cork city flat where Kerry mum Nicola's battered body was discovered last Monday week.

A post-mortem revealed that she had been beaten prior to being strangled to death.

O'Sullivan (44) was arrested at 3.20am that morning, after gardai entered his flat above the Gala shop on Pophams Road in Farranree, Cork.

He was detained at Mayfield garda station and was released without charge the following afternoon after denying any involvement in Nicola's murder.

O'Sullivan refused to speak of the circumstances of his arrest when approached by the Sunday World last Thursday evening.

However, in one of three voice messages he left on our reporter's phone the following day, he angrily denounced coverage of Nicola's death.

"By the way, no-one said people said anything about me," he insisted.

"It's ye with your media...making up bulls**t."

Efforts to contact O'Sullivan subsequently went unanswered.

Originally from Charleville in Cork, O'Sullivan was previously found guilty of assault causing harm to Debbie Dunlee in 2013. On that occasion, he received a three-year suspended sentence.

It's understood that O'Sullivan had socialised with Nicola in the flat on a number of occasions prior to the weekend of her death.

Nicola is understood to have issues with alcohol and was described by family members as vulnerable.

At her funeral Mass in St Brendan's Church in Tralee last week, Fr Padraig Walsh told mourners: "Nobody deserves to die as Nicola did.

"We struggle to come to terms with her death and the way she was taken from us. From a distance, people will look at her death and look at the increased levels of violence in Irish society. 

"And from a distance, Nicola's death will be seen as another statistic in this dreadful reality of increased violence. 

"But for her family, for her friends, this is no statistic; it is the tragic loss of a daughter, a sister, a mother and a friend. Nicola gave so much, and Nicola had so much to give."

Among the 200 mourners who gathered at the church were Nicola's wheelchair-bound mother Kay Drew, her father Michael Collins, her sister Carly and her three sons, Nick, Adam and Michael. 

Addressing those present, Nicola's sister Carly said: "My sister did not know how beautiful she was both inside and out.

Nicola Collins

"She probably even blames herself now. But Nicola, this was in no way your fault," a tearful Carly added.

In the wake of O'Sullivan's release from custody, gardai arrested a second man in Cork who had received a 30-minute call from a phone in the Pophams Road flat prior to Nicola's body being discovered.

The second man was also released without charge.

They also expanded the time frame in which they are searching for sightings of people entering and leaving the apartment out to the previous Thursday morning at 8am.

Gardai canvassing neighbours and local businesses for CCTV requested locals to wind their CCTV back as far as 8am the previous Thursday morning in the belief that Nicola's killer may have entered the premises up to four days before her body was discovered.

Local councillor Kenneth Collins - who lives three doors from the apartment where Nicola was killed - said people in the locality are hoping her killer will brought to justice as soon as possible.

"There is a huge sense of unease in the area that the person who did this to Nicola is still out there," he told the Sunday World last week.

"People are shocked and they just hope now the person who did it will be brought before the courts."

Gardai are appealing to witnesses or to anyone who can assist with the investigation to contact Mayfield garda station on 021 4558510, the garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.