garda probe | 

Gardai continue to quiz suspect after violent death of pensioner John O'Neill

Dad-of-two John had only recently lost his wife, Christine, and was a much loved figure in the local community
John O'Neill

John O'Neill

Niall Donald and Ken Foy

Gardai are continuing to quiz a suspect after 78-year-old John O'Neill was found beaten to death in his home in Lisdoonvarna.

The body of the pensioner, a well-known and respected B&B owner, was found at his Co Clare home yesterday.

Dad-of-two John had only recently lost his wife, Christine, and was a much loved figure in the local community.

This morning, a suspect- who is aged in his 30s - remains in garda custody after being arrested under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

Source have said the man is known to the victim.

Gardai were alerted to the incident at around 8am yesterday by a phone call and are not looking for anyone else at this stage in relation to the incident.

Senior sources say that officers are satisfied that Mr O’Neill was the victim of an assault and that the suspect had been a regular visitor to his home.

“This is not a murder investigation yet – the suspect has been arrested in relation to an assault and he can be detained for 24 hours in relation to that accusation.

The scene in Lisdoonvarna where a mans body was found. Photograph Press 22

The scene in Lisdoonvarna where a mans body was found. Photograph Press 22

“A post mortem on the deceased will determine what way this investigation goes,” a senior source said.

A garda spokesman said earlier a man has been arrested in connection with the incident.

"The man is currently detained in Ennis Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

"The scene is currently preserved and a technical examination is being carried out by the Garda Technical Bureau. State Pathologist Margaret Bolster has attended the scene.

"The body of the man has been removed to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem will take place. The results of this post mortem will direct the course of the investigation."

A source previously told the Sunday World: “The early indications at this stage is that foul play was a factor in this incident. This is a situation that appears to be very much more than a fall or something like that."

Gardaí commenced door to door inquiries in the area in a bid to determine the last known movements of the deceased.

Detectives appealed for anyone with any information in relation to the matter to contact Ennistymon Garda Station on 065 707 2180, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.


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