herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Criminal on run as man dies after home raid

The scene in Toomaline, Co Limerick where John O'Donoghue's body was found following a suspected burglary
The scene in Toomaline, Co Limerick where John O'Donoghue's body was found following a suspected burglary

A criminal is on the run following the death of an elderly man who collapsed after discovering his home had been burgled by a gang of thieves.

John O’Donoghue (62) died from a suspected heart attack at his home in Doon, Co Limerick yesterday, after discovering his home ransacked.

Two men were arrested by gardai afterwards. One is from Tallaght, Dublin, while the other is from the outskirts of Limerick city.

Both are connected to a well-known travellers gang from Limerick city who are responsible for numerous crimes across the region.

The incident happened in the townland of Toomaline, a short distance outside the east Limerick village.

Gardai are today searching for a third man – the getaway driver in a black car – who abandoned his two accomplices after Mr O’Donoghue and his sister returned home to find out what was going on.

The shock of the incident induced heart failure and he fell to the ground in front of his traumatised sister.

The siblings, who were said to be “inseparable”, had lived together in their modest home for a number of years.

The sister is a retired nurse and she immediately tried to revive her brother.

But he remained unresponsive and died just yards from his front door.

Local parish priest Fr Tony Ryan said the siblings had spent the morning shopping in the village of Doon, where they had purchased items for a “project” that they were working on.

“He was quiet and inoffensive and generally kept to himself,” said Fr Ryan.

“We’re devastated that such a thing should happen to such a good man.

Rampage

“The brother and sister had just returned from town, having made some purchases.

“His sister said the two men ran out, having rampaged through the house,” the priest said.

“They had been there for some time. I don’t think very much was taken. He was a self-employed carpenter.”

The two men are being questioned at Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out on the body of Mr O’Donoghue later today.

The garda station in Doon closed a number of years ago and the area comes under the remit of the Bruff garda district, a 20-mile drive from where the crime took place.

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