Post-mortem shows that samurai sword victim died of heart attack
Gardai have downgraded the investigation into the death of Karl Holmes from murder to violent disorder and assault.
In an unprecedented move, detectives last night confirmed that following the results of a post-mortem, they were now investigating the death of Holmes (44) at Avonbeg Gardens in Tallaght as a violent disorder, assault and public order incident.
The Herald can reveal that the post-mortem identified that Holmes had a serious underlying heart condition and he died of a heart attack which was "not related" to the savage assault, according to sources.
Holmes was attacked with a samurai sword and hammer and was punched and kicked numerous times in the sustained attack at 5.30pm on Thursday.
Meanwhile, it is understood that a number of the gang of up to 10 men involved in the incident have close links to a dangerous Real IRA figure.
Last night, sources said that gardai were investigating if a dissident republican was involved in the assault which started as a row between teenagers over a bicycle.
There have been no arrests so far and no weapons have been recovered. The dissident republican, who may have been involved in the brutal row, was previously arrested by the Special Detective Unit.
"The IRA figure is a dangerous man, but so was Mr Holmes. He was a man with a very quick temper who was well able to use his fists and he arrived in that estate looking for trouble," a source said.
"However, no one deserves what happened to him, he suffered appalling injuries."
Holmes was previously jailed for five years for causing grievous bodily harm to a teenager who died three days after being head-butted.
The then-21-year-old took his victim, Thomas Weekes (19), to his home after the assault to have his injury cleaned up. Holmes was also jailed for a year in 2009 for being part of a cartel which defrauded the Revenue of almost €53,000.
Yesterday Superintendent Peter Duff at Tallaght Garda Station appealled for witnesses to the incident.