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Monday 18 December 2017

No charges brought in mystery forest death of eco-activist dad (64)

Garda set up a crime scene in Black Hill Forest where Michael McCoy was found dead. Photo: Collins
Garda set up a crime scene in Black Hill Forest where Michael McCoy was found dead. Photo: Collins

No criminal charges will be brought over the death of a 64-year-old conservation officer who died while out walking his dogs in the Dublin Mountains.

Michael McCoy, of Ballinascorney Upper, Brittas, Co Dublin, was found dead at Black Hill Forest last September 30.

The circumstances leading up to his death will be heard at an inquest after gardai applied for a hearing date at Dublin Coroner's Court.

At a previous hearing, pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan gave the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

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The father-of-three had been out walking his dogs near his home.

He was formally identified using DNA, Dublin Coroner's Court was previously told.

Mr McCoy left his home early on the morning of September 29 last year to walk his two boxer dogs in the nearby hills.

When he did not return the alarm was raised and a search of the area was launched.

Mr McCoy's body was found on a forest track late the next afternoon.

One of his dogs, Sophie, was still by his side when mountain rescuers arrived.

A file was prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and criminal proceedings were considered, but ultimately the DPP directed no prosecution.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane set a hearing date for November 22.

Mr McCoy ran the Dublin and Wicklow Conservation Group and had campaigned against a string of building developments in Dublin and Wicklow.

It had been reported that the environmental activist was beaten to death, possibly with a tree branch.

It is believed his death was linked to one of the environmental campaigns he had carried out.

Mr McCoy had lodged a large number of objections to building developments and regularly distributed leaflets highlighting his campaigns.

Gardai arrested a 40-year-old suspect the day after Mr McCoy's body was found and he was held for questioning at Tallaght Garda Station.

The suspect was subsequently released without being charged.

He was later re-arrested for further questioning but was again released.

Cared

A second suspect, aged 36, was also held and questioned following garda inquiries.

Hundreds of people turned out to join family and friends for Mr McCoy's funeral at St Maelruain's Church in Tall- aght.

His nephew, Shoni McCoy, told his funeral Mass that his uncle loved the outdoors and he had climbed mountains throughout Ireland with family members.

"Michael lived a principled life with a strong sense of right and wrong and he cared enough about issues to take a stand," he told mourners.

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