herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Dead man's neighbours helped gardai catch burglars

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

Gardai had to rely on the help of John O'Donoghue's neighbours to chase down a burglary gang after the victim of a break-in collapsed and died outside his home.

A local man performed a citizen's arrest on one of the burglars who ransacked the 62-year-old's home in the Limerick townland of Toomaline, near Doon, on Thursday.

The result of a post mortem showed Mr O'Donoghue suff-ered a massive heart attack after returning home to find raiders in his house.

Two of the suspects are cousins from a well-known Traveller gang and are related through marriage to the notorious McCarthy-Dundon gang.

Last night, the pair, who have addresses in Limerick and Tallaght, were still being interviewed by gardai while a search was under way for their getaway driver, who abandoned them.

Sources have told the Herald that gardai were in the process of responding to another burglary five miles away in the village of Cappamore when they were alerted to the situation in Toomaline.

As Mr O'Donoghue and his sister, Christine, who is also in her 60s, arrived home, a man in a stolen car outside their home began beeping the horn and flashing the lights. The car drove off and Mr O'Donoghue, who had recently undergone a heart bypass, went to the side of the house to arm himself with a shovel to protect his property.

As he did so, the popular local carpenter collapsed and died, while the thieves made their escape across fields.

Gda Bill Collins was passing the O'Donoghue house on his way to respond to the Cappa- more burglary when he was flagged down by locals.

The officer began a search of back roads in the area with the help of one of Mr O'Donoghue's neighbours who knew the likely location where the thieves would emerge, a source said.

Ditches

The two men detained the suspects about half-a-mile from the house after crossing fields, ditches and bogland.

At the same time, other garda units arrived in the area and took the men to Limerick city.

Gardai later recovered a black Renault Laguna near Boher, Co Limerick, which they believe was the getaway car.

Niall Collins, the local Fianna Fail TD and his party's justice spokesman, said the incident had caused "enormous anxiety and distress".

"This is a shocking incident. I want to express my condolences to John O'Donoghue's family and friends at this difficult time for them," he said.

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