tragic loss  | 

Pal of bachelor (92) who was found dead with €5 note shoved down his throat doubts killer will ever face justice

Limerick-man James Mulqueen was found dead lying on the floor of his cottage by a neighbour in October, 2009.

James Mulqueen

Alan Sherry

A close pal of a 92-year-old bachelor who was found dead with a €5 note shoved down his throat 11 years ago this week has said he doubts his killer will ever face justice.

Gardai initially believed quiet, unassuming Limerick-man James Mulqueen died of natural causes after his body was discovered in his quiet rural cottage.

However, after the post-mortem results came back, it was revealed suspicions that he up a struggle for his life at his tiny cottage at Ballymakeery, Kilcolman, a few miles from Newcastle West.

As the eleventh anniversary of his death takes place this Friday, Mr Mulqueen’s friend of more than 30 years, publican Ed Lynch, told the Sunday World he does not believe his killer will ever face justice.

Ed Lynch

Ed described his pal as “an independent man who lived away his own life and didn’t bother anyone.”

He was found dead lying on the floor of his cottage by neighbour Patsy Guinan on the morning of Friday, October 23, 2009.

Born in the cottage in 1917 he moved to England after World War II but returned take over the family home in 1971.

“Jim worked in England for a long part of his life and his brother (Tom) died and he came back to take over the cottage and lived away there,” said Ed.

“He got a job with the Board of Works draining the rivers.”

He lived a simple independent life rarely having visitors to his home which had no indoor toilets and was heated by fire and locals say he would wash his clothes in the yard.

He looked forward all week to getting a lift into Newcastle on a Friday when he would collect his pension and visit Ed Lynch’s pub and the local bookmakers which James joking called “the stock exchange”.

“He used to come once a week while he was working and when he went on the pension he’d come in twice a week,” said Ed.

“He liked to back a few horses. He was really interested in racing. He was a sociable drinker. He’d call to the pub first of all and he’d have a drink or two and he’d get his paper and study it and then he’d go to the bookies and you mightn’t see him for hours and then he’d come back in and finish up in the pub for a few drinks before he’d go home.”

Ed said while James wasn’t a big mixer he had a couple of pals who were also racing enthusiasts who he’d meet in the bookies.

“He didn’t meet that many but he had a few pals that used to back horses.

“The couple of pals he had in the betting office who studied the horses have passed on as well since.”

Despite his age he James was well able to get about.

Home of James Mulqueen

“He was over 90 but was a strong independent man. He got his two hips done some years ago but by god he could walk to Knockfierna and back again after. He was able to move for his age.”

Ed said he was shocked when he found out James had been killed.

“It was a big shock. It took a long time to get over it.”

“I heard first of all it was a sudden death but then they did the autopsy and were suspicious and the funeral was held up for a week before the body was released. They had some idea it was a murder.”

As well as the note found in his throat the post-mortem also revealed injuries around his neck and some evidence he may have put up a struggle with his attacker.

There was no sign of forced entry so garda suspect he may have known his killer.

Gardai initially investigated the case as a suspicious death but upgraded it to a murder inquiry in 2012 months after the Garda Cold Case Unit was called in to assist the investigation.

Gardai arrested a 54-year-old from Newcastle West in 2014 in relation to the murder but he was later released without charge.

Ed says he doubts James’ killer will ever be brought to justice.

“It’s doubtful now,” he said. “You never hear anymore about it.”

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