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Thursday 23 January 2020

Man sought by gardai over savage homeless murder leaves country

Francis ‘Frankie’ Dunne
Francis ‘Frankie’ Dunne

A person believed to have been in the company of murdered homeless man Francis 'Frankie' Dunne (64) has left Ireland to travel to Eastern Europe.

The man, who is a person of interest to gardai, travelled to Eastern Europe in the 36 hours after the discovery of Mr Dunne's headless body in the garden of a derelict house on Cork's Boreenmanna Road.

Mr Dunne's body, which was also missing the arms, was found by a shocked neighbour in undergrowth in the garden at 4pm on Saturday, December 28.

The missing body parts were later recovered in the garden.

A man who is believed to have been with Mr Dunne on the day before he died left Cork on December 29 and travelled to Northern Ireland.

The individual, who is originally from Eastern Europe, then travelled from Belfast to the UK.

They are understood to have then travelled onwards to Eastern Europe where they have friends and family.

Gardai have not formally designated the man as a suspect.

However, one garda source said they are eager to clarify movements around the property where the body was found.

It is understood that the individual involved features on some of the CCTV security camera footage already harvested by gardai.

The man had been working in Cork but moved out of his normal address late last year. He is understood to have been squatting in a property off the Boreenmanna Road.

A garda source said the investigation was "making substantial progress" with enormous support from member of the public. Detectives believe Mr Dunne was murdered after being savagely beaten between December 27 and 28.

Charity

Gardai secured extra time to forensically examine the crime scene and its sprawling garden.

One homelessness charity has now publicly appealed to the killer or killers to hand themselves in to gardai.

The remains of Mr Dunne are expected to be released back to his family within 48 hours.

Mr Dunne's family has already pleaded for privacy and asked the media not to cover any aspect of his funeral.

Now, the extended Dunne family has launched a special GoFundMe page to honour his memory and raise desperately needed finances for the Cork charities which had tried so hard to help him over the course of his life.

The campaign - dubbed the "Honour of Francis 'Frankie' Dunne Appeal" - will see all its proceeds go to Cork Simon and Caring for Cork Homeless Group.

"Frankie was a father, a grandfather, a brother, uncle and nephew, as well as a friend to many in Cork," a family statement said.

"He had succumbed to a life of alcohol dependence many years ago. He lost a lot in his life but he never lost his family's support or love.

"No one should be beaten or murdered because they find themselves helpless due to alcoholism or for any other reason."

The campaign aimed to raise €5,000 for the two charities - and, within 24 hours of it being launched, had raised almost €3,300, thanks to donations from people horrified by what Mr Dunne had suffered and the plight of the homeless on Irish streets.

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