Left to die | 

Gardaí renew appeal over brutal murder of Cork pensioner Gus Hornibrook 15 years ago

Gus Hornibrook (74) was brutally assaulted in his own home, tied up and then left to die - a killing which shocked Cork.

Gus Hornibrook, murdered in Cork in 2007

Ralph RiegelIndependent.ie

Gardai have renewed their appeal for information on the killing of a frail Cork pensioner to mark the upcoming 15th anniversary of his murder.

Gus Hornibrook (74) was brutally assaulted in his own home, tied up and then left to die on November 6, 2007 - a killing which shocked Cork.

Detectives believe an anonymous caller who rang with specific information about the killing of the pensioner still holds the key to solving the disturbing crime.

Gurranabraher gardaí have appealed for the anonymous caller, believed to be a young man in his 20s or 30s, to contact them.

The man contacted gardaí in the weeks after the killing and had detailed information that detectives believe is crucial to their investigation.

The young man abruptly ended the call - and all efforts to trace him since then have failed.

He called gardaí on an unregistered mobile phone which subsequently proved impossible to trace.

One key individual believed to have been associated with the crime is now deceased.

Gardaí have consistently appealed for the person who made the call - or anyone with information on the brutal killing - to contact them.

Detectives are convinced others have information about what happened that day to the vulnerable pensioner.

“We would appeal to anyone with information, but in particular this caller, to contact us and help our inquiry,” one garda said.

John Hornibrook, the murdered man’s nephew, appealed numerous times for public support over the years for the ongoing garda investigation.

“If somebody knows something, please come forward. It could happen again and I wouldn’t want anybody else to endure what we have gone through,” he said.

Mr Hornibrook was discovered dead in his house at Templeacre Avenue in Gurranabraher, Cork on November 6 2007.

His body was discovered by his elderly brother, Robert, who had become concerned about Gus’s welfare after he hadn’t been seen since the previous evening.

The killing of the pensioner, who lived alone and was one of Gurranabraher’s most colourful characters, shocked the entire city.

Mr Hornibrook was savagely beaten in his own home before having a pillow held over his mouth.

He was then abandoned and effectively left to die.

A coroner’s inquest heard that Mr Hornibrook died as a result of being beaten across the chest and neck and then tied up.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said the cause of death was a combination of blunt force trauma to the chest and neck with restraint asphyxia associated with severe heart disease.

Material from a pillow was found in the mouth of the deceased.

It is suspected the intruder placed a pillow over the pensioner’s mouth to obstruct his breathing.

A verdict of unlawful killing was returned after gardaí said that while the case file remains open, they were unable to determine who entered Mr Hornibrook’s house and assaulted him.

Gardaí are also baffled as to the precise motive involved.

Det Sgt John Bryant of the Garda Technical Bureau said the pensioner’s body was found in a downstairs room.

Small amounts of money were around the house and there was no sign of a robbery or forced entry.

A blue Profumo tie found at the scene is believed to be linked to the murderer.

The case remains open and unsolved.

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