herald

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Man savagely beaten then chopped up and dumped, gardai fear

The remains of Francis ‘Frankie’ Dunne are taken from the scene in Cork
The remains of Francis ‘Frankie’ Dunne are taken from the scene in Cork

Gardai fear a man was savagely beaten before having his head and arm severed and his corpse dumped in the garden of a derelict house.

A murder investigation was launched as Superintendent Michael Comyns issued a public appeal for information over the horrific killing.

Gardai are now trying to determine if the victim - named locally as Francis 'Frankie' Dunne (64) - was killed at the Boreenmanna Road scene close to Cork city centre, where his headless body was found at about 4pm on Saturday - or if he was killed elsewhere.

Mr Dunne, who was a client of Cork homeless support services, had been living locally but was originally from the Churchfield area.

A search operation overnight at the property resulted in the recovery of the missing body parts.

Witnesses

Supt Comyns urged people to assist gardai with their inquiries - and said it was such a busy area someone must have seen something vital to their ongoing investigation.

"We are appealing for any persons who may have passed on Boreenmanna Road over the last number of days, going back to Christmas Day, if they had seen any activity around this derelict house, to please contact us," he said.

Victim Frankie Dunne
Victim Frankie Dunne

Supt Comyns said officers wanted to speak to motorists, drivers with dash cams, pedestrians and locals who were in the quiet residential area since December 25.

"We can say there were severe injuries but we do not know the full extent of them. I would ask that any speculation that has been going on since yesterday evening - it is not helpful to our investigation."

Gardai still have no idea precisely how long the body was in the garden. "We are hoping that the post mortem will help us out with that," Supt Comyns added.

"But it isn't there long term."

The body was found in undergrowth in the garden of a derelict property, Castlegrenna House, a 19th century building known locally as The Castle, which has been unoccupied for several years.

Locum Assistant State Pathologist Dr Heidi Okkers visited the scene yesterday morning and later conducted a full post mortem examination at Cork University Hospital (CUH) on the body and body parts.

The deceased had not been seen around the city since after St Stephen's Day.

The alarm was raised by a shocked local at 4pm on Saturday afternoon.

Initial indications are that the man may have been lying dead outside for potentially between two and four days.

There were signs of violent trauma to the body.

The area was cordoned off to allow for a full forensic examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.

It is located just metres from the busy South Link Road and only a short walk from Pairc Ui Rinn and Cork Constitution rugby club.

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