herald

Friday 6 December 2019

Man (64) accused of relationship died after alleged assault

The man was taken to University Hospital Galway where he was later pronounced dead
The man was taken to University Hospital Galway where he was later pronounced dead

A pensioner allegedly assaulted a man who later died after accusing the deceased of being involved in a relationship with his former wife.

Gardai in Galway arrested a man in his 70s following the fatal incident in Connemara over the weekend.

The man has since been released without charge and a post-mortem confirmed that the dead man had a heart condition which contributed to his death.

The deceased, named locally as Charles Townsend (64), died after an alleged assault at a house in the Ballinahown area on Sunday morning.

Respected

Respected osteopath Mr Townsend was in the house with the female homeowner when the woman's ex-partner returned.

A row ensued and Mr Townsend, who is originally from the Ballisodare area of Sligo, was allegedly assaulted before taking ill.

Emergency services were alerted and the victim was rushed to University Hospital Galway but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

The pensioner was arrested by gardai a short time later.

He was held at Galway Garda Station under Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act.

Last night, gardai said the man was released without charge from custody and a file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

A source told the Herald that the incident began when the pensioner spotted an unknown car outside his former partner's property.

This led to a confrontation during which Mr Townsend was accused of being romantically involved with the woman.

"He was a highly respected osteopath whose work was known around the country," the source said. "Whether the claim of being in a relationship with the woman is accurate has to be definitively established.

"The investigation will not be upgraded to murder as the deceased had a heart condition and this was confirmed by the post-mortem."

Gardai have said that they are following a definite line of inquiry as part of the investigation.

The female occupant of the house has also spoken to investigators.

The post-mortem examination into Mr Townsend's death was concluded yesterday afternoon, and a garda spokeswoman said that the results would not be released for operational reasons.

"Investigations are ongoing," she added.

Gardai had previously said that they were "investigating all of the circumstances surrounding the death of a man in his 60s following an incident at a house in Connemara, Co Galway".

"Shortly after 9am, gardai were called to a house in Ballinahown, Connemara, where ambulance service personnel were treating a man in [his] 60s following an alleged assault," a garda spokesman added.

Coroner

"The man was removed from the scene by ambulance to University Hospital Galway, where he later passed away.

"A man in his 70s was arrested following the incident.

"He was detained under Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at Galway Garda Station.

"The scene is currently preserved for examination by the garda Technical Bureau.

"The local coroner has been notified and the services of the State pathologist have been requested.

"A post-mortem examination will be arranged, the results of which will determine the course of the investigation," the spokesman added.

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