herald

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Appeal after homeless chef is found beaten to death as tent set on fire

Timothy Hourihane was found unconscious near his tent
Timothy Hourihane was found unconscious near his tent

A homeless man in his 50s who was savagely beaten to death was found close to his tent which had been set on fire.

Timothy 'Timmy' Hourihane was a talented chef from West Cork who previously worked in well-known restaurants in Britain, cooking for a number of celebrities including Elton John and Lionel Richie.

Mr Hourihane was found in an unconscious state in a "tented village" in Cork city, a short distance from his tent.

Other homeless people had raised the alarm after the tent caught fire at Mardyke Walk near University College Cork (UCC) at 12.45am yesterday.

The tent, owned by Mr Hourihane, was pitched on grass across the road from the Western Road entrance to the college.

Injuries

A post-mortem carried out at Cork University Hospital (CUH) revealed Mr Hourihane had been assaulted and had sustained extremely serious injuries to his head and body.

He was rushed by ambulance to CUH, where he died.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster carried out a preliminary examination of the scene at Mardyke Walk.

Gardai are interviewing people living in the area, where tents have sprung up in recent months.

There is no known motive for the assault and the area is without CCTV.

Garda Superintendent Michael Comyns, of Anglesea Street in Cork, held a briefing at the site of the murder.

He said witnesses raised the alarm reporting that a tent was on fire and a man unconscious.

"Gardai arrived at the scene and a man was taken to hospital, where a short time afterwards he was pronounced dead," he said.

"The man has injuries consistent with an assault. He does not have injuries consistent with being in a fire."

Supt Comyns said they were appealing for witnesses to come forward.

"We are appealing for anyone who was in the area from 11pm to 1am to contact us and particularly if they saw anything of a suspicious nature or anything at all, really, to contact us," he said.

"It is a homicide investigation. For operational reasons we are not going to release information on the injuries but he does have injuries consistent with being assaulted."

Supt Comyns said they were hoping passing taxi drivers and motorists could provide dashcam footage.

"In this area there are a lot of guest houses as well and there may have been people staying from outside of Cork city who would have checked out probably this morning and we would ask them to contact us," he said.

Gardai are appealing to persons who were in the Mardyke Walk area between midnight and 1am on Sunday who may have witnessed any activity in the area, or any motorists who may have dashcam footage, to contact them.

Grateful

Witnesses are being urged to contact Anglesea Garda Station on 021-4522000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

In an interview with a newspaper on Christmas Day in 2017, Mr Hourihane said it was his best festive season in many a year.

He was among the diners at Penny Dinners, which provides meals to homeless people in Cork city.

He said he was grateful to sit alongside his fellow homeless people for a meal provided by the River Lee Hotel in Cork city.

Mr Hourihane also spoke movingly of his addiction to alcohol.

He said he had battled through periods of sobriety only to see his life derailed by relapses.

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