Thursday 27 October 2016

'Closure' for family after open verdict at inquest into death of Dubliner whose body found in sea


Thomas Kennedy search
Thomas Kennedy

An inquest into the death of a Dublin man whose body was found in the sea at Blackpool has returned an open verdict.

Thomas Kennedy (81) was reported missing from his home in Virginia Park, Finglas, at the end of July last year.

Extensive searches in Dublin and public appeals for information were made following his disappearance.

His body was discovered floating in the sea off the English coast on August 17.

It was finally identified last February through the use of DNA samples.

A family member told the Herald today that the inquest helped to provide "closure" for grieving relatives.

An official of the Blackpool and Fylde Coroner's Court said today the inquest into his death was concluded yesterday and returned "an open verdict".

READ MORE: Widow of tragic Tom has no idea what happened to him

The grandfather went to put out the bins at his home on July 29 last year at around 9pm and was never seen again by his family. His death was not treated as suspicious.

His son Paul, daughter-in-law Claire Kennedy, and grandson Ross represented the family at the inquest yesterday. A member of Finglas gardai gave evidence along with local police and the local pathologist.

It was estimated that Mr Kennedy's body had spent around 17 days in the sea and personal items from his home were used to establish a DNA link to his identity.

READ MORE:  Body of OAP was unidentified in UK since last August

"The inquest has helped to bring closure for the family. We realise we have been lucky compared to some families whose loved ones remained missing for years," Mrs Claire Kennedy told the Herald today.

Thomas Kennedy

"The inquest was very distressing but it was a release. The family are trying to get back to normal.

"He was an amazing man who was kind and gentle," she added.

"He had a very high position in the scouts and helped to build the Scouts Den in Finglas," she added.

Blackpool police said a member of the public in Blackpool noticed the body floating in the sea and alerted police.

Det Sgt Kathryn Riley, of Blackpool CID, said after the DNA identification was made in February that Mr Kennedy had no ID on him.

"It has taken police and forensic services a number of weeks and months to be able to extract DNA in this case," she said.

"As a result of liaising with the Missing Persons Bureau in the UK and in Ireland and making inquiries in relation to the brands of clothing the deceased male was wearing, it was felt he may well have originated in Ireland," she explained.

"This is a tragic situation for the family," she said.

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