'Talented boy' | 

GoFundMe to repatriate murdered Irishman Thomas Kennedy raises over €30K

Police said that the five had been drinking with Thomas, who was a student at a local music college in the area, at a bar when a fight broke out

Tom Kennedy

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A GoFundMe launched to bring home the body of an Irishman murdered in Georgia has raised over €30,000.

The body of 28-year old Thomas 'Tom' Kennedy from Lahardane in Co Mayo was found in a river in Gori, in the eastern part of the country last Saturday.

Five Georgian citizens have since been charged by police with four accused of Thomas' murder with one charged for failing to report the crime.

Police said that the five had been drinking with Thomas, who was a student at a local music college in the area at a bar when a fight broke out.

They are accused of beating him and throwing him in the nearby Mtkvari River while he was unconscious.

Thomas' body was discovered on October 8 while his mobile phone was found at a pawnshop several days later after his murder.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs report on the killing states: "Kennedy’s body was washed ashore by the Mtkvari River on October 8 of the current year, near the village of Kvakhvreli in Gori Municipality.

“As a result of complex operative-investigative and search activities, the law enforcers identified the persons involved in the crime and arrested them.”

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page set up Tom's cousin Olivia Barrett to bring Tom home “as soon as possible” has raised €33,387 of a €25,000 goal.

“On Friday the 9th of October our beautiful Tom was found in Mtk'uari River in Georgia,” the page reads.

“He died brutally and tragically at the hands of five evil men. We are absolutely devastated there are no words, life will never be the same again without our beautiful talented boy.”

The appeal says that is currently very difficult to repatriate Tom home “due to the Covid-19 restrictions”.

“So we are setting up this GoFundMe Page to raise funds to bring Tom home as soon as possible, this is costly, and with the help of the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, we will get him to his beloved home of County Mayo.

“Any funds raised over what is required will be donated to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which is providing invaluable support to the Kennedy and Barrett family at this extremely difficult time.

“Any donation big or small will be greatly appreciated, please share and help bring our boy home.”

People have taken to the comments section to express their sympathies.

“Heartbreaking. Sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Rest in peace Tom,” one person has written.

“Olivia and family thinking of ye all, so sorry for yer (sic) loss,” added another.

“Wherever you might be Tom, take your guitar out and light that room up mate!” one other person has written.

One person who knew Tom from college said he was “one of the funniest lads I knew with an incredible voice.”

A post on the Lahardane/Bofeenaun Community Notes Facebook page entitled ‘Bring Tom Home’ says the “whole community is shocked and saddened at news of the passing of Tom Kennedy from Massbrook Bofeenaun."

“Tom was a great young man sadly taken too early on his travels abroad,” it reads. “A repatriation fund has been set up to bring Tom home to his family.”

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