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Saturday 3 December 2016

Man (64) found beaten to death in mountain forest may be victim of land row

Gardai at the scene where Michael McCoy’s body was found in the Black Hill area of Ballinascorney
Gardai at the scene where Michael McCoy’s body was found in the Black Hill area of Ballinascorney
Gardai at the scene where Michael McCoy’s body was found in the Black Hill area of Ballinascorney

A man beaten to death with a "stick-like" weapon in a mountain forest may have been involved in a dispute over land in Co Dublin, gardai believe.

The chief suspect in the killing of Michael McCoy was known to the victim and remained under arrest at Tallaght Garda Station last night.

The 64-year-old victim lived in Ballinascorney Upper, Brittas, Co Dublin, and was a passionate conservationist. The father-of-three had been secretary of the Dublin Mountain Conservation and Environmental Group.

Mr McCoy's body was found on Ballinascorney Hill in the early hours of Friday on a mountain path after an extensive search. It is believed he left his home to walk his two boxer dogs early on Thursday morning and failed to return home.

Killing

Following the discovery of Mr McCoy's body, his grieving family appealed for help to find one of the dogs that has failed to return home.

Mr McCoy's daughter, Rachel, issued a public appeal on Facebook seeking help in finding the family's beloved pet boxer Fia.

She stated: "Fia our boxer is still missing in the Ballinascorney area after my dad was assaulted. Please share and help find her."

Mr McCoy's niece, artist Kirstin McCoy, urged people to come forward with any information on the killing.

In a message on social media, she said: "I'm in total shock that my kind and gentle uncle has been murdered while out for a walk at Ballinascorney, Dublin Mountains."

A team of gardai continued searching the forest and fields yesterday near the place where Mr McCoy's body was found.

The area remained sealed off with crime-scene tape as gardai combed the surrounding undergrowth.

Members of the local community said the McCoy family had moved into the area around three decades ago.

Their three daughters had grown up in Ballinascorney. Mr McCoy was a carpenter and a builder and was believed to have been from Co Wicklow. His wife, Catriona, is a teacher in a school in Dublin.

Neighbours Patrick Cullen (58) and his brother Michael Cullen (65) said they were shocked at the killing.

"He was a quiet, kind person. This is a terrible shock that affects everyone living in this area," said Patrick Cullen.

"Our thoughts go out to his wife Catriona and their daughters Rachel, Suzanne and Sarah at this very sad time," he said.

A young man who lives locally said: "He was a lovely man and a very good neighbour. He cared for the local environment. He was passionate about protecting the environment." arrested

Following a post-mortem by State Pathologist Linda Mulligan, it emerged that Mr McCoy died from injuries inflicted by an attacker or attackers.

Gardai arrested a man on Saturday. Garda Supt Peter Duff, from Tallaght Station, asked anyone who may have information to come forward.

"We have established this man was last seen at 6am on Thursday. His family had left to go to work and that evening realised he had not returned home, and they reported their concerns to Tallaght Garda Station," he said.

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