herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

'Volatile criminal' being quizzed after dad-of-3 is found beaten to death

Floral tributes left at Fingal Community College where Dermot Byrne was found dead. Photo: Damien Eagers
Floral tributes left at Fingal Community College where Dermot Byrne was found dead. Photo: Damien Eagers

Gardai were last night continuing to question a 29-year-old chief suspect in relation to the murder of a father-of-three who was beaten to death and then stripped naked.

The body of Dermot Byrne (56) was found on a set of steps at Fingal Community College, on North Street, Swords, at 3.05am on Sunday.

The arrested man is considered an "extremely volatile" criminal who was picked up by gardai in the Dundrum area on the capital's southside at around 8.30pm on Sunday.

Sources have revealed that the 29-year-old career criminal was "too intoxicated" to be interviewed by investig- ators after his arrest and his period of detention was extended.

Steroids

It is believed the suspect may have been under the influence of steroids as well as cocaine when Mr Byrne was savagely attacked.

The highly respected victim suffered such severe facial injuries in the sustained assault that he could not be identified for a number of hours after his body was found.

The arrested man is well-known to gardai and has more than 60 previous convictions including for other assaults, burglary, threatening to kill, public order and motor offences.

He has served a number of jail sentences including a three-year term for a spate of terrifying crimes when he was in his early 20s.

Mr Byrne, who lived in Swords, suffered multiple blunt force injuries to his head and body, which were consistent with a prolonged and sustained beating.

Officers believe he was kicked to death.

It is understood that the assault was captured on CCTV, which helped gardai identify the suspect.

It is expected that gardai will seek to interview a number of other men who may have been present when the attack happened.

Mr Byrne, who was originally from Finglas but had an address at Feltrim Road, had been socialising in Swords before he was attacked.

He was known to be an accomplished pool player who regularly took part in tournaments both domestically and internationally.

The Irish Blackball Association, which organises tournaments and runs the sport, paid tribute to him.

"He was one of the nicest and most genuine people anyone could wish to meet," said a spokesman. "He was a true gentleman who never had a cross word with any soul.

"Dermot was known to all as a gent. He was easy-going and respectful of others.

"We are so proud to have had the opportunity of knowing Dermot, and the honour of being in his company.

"On behalf of the entire membership of the Irish Blackball Association, we would like to offer our sincerest condol- ences to his loving wife, three beautiful daughters and ex- tended family members at this time.

"We will miss our friend."

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