Murder probe begins as coma dad Seamus dies following assault
Gardai have launched a murder investigation into the death of Monaghan man Seamus 'Seamie' Bell (36).
The father-of-three died in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, on Saturday night, four months after he was att-acked.
Mr Bell was allegedly punched while celebrating the christening of his twin daughters, Ava and Cara. He had been in a coma since January 21.
He suffered serious injuries after the alleged one-punch attack in the main street of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.
Last night, gardai confirmed that a murder investigation had been launched.
It followed the results of a post-mortem examination, which was carried out by Prof Marie Cassidy yesterday afternoon.
Mr Bell is survived by his partner Edel, eight-month-old twins Ava and Cara, and his son, Raphael (6), from a previous relationship.
Tributes to Mr Bell were led by his friend of more than 10 years, champion boxer Christina McMahon.
"Seamus worked for me when I ran the Phoenix Sports Centre in Carrickmacross," she said.
"He worked as a fitness instructor and as a physio with the Monaghan Ladies GAA team.
"It is devastating news. It hasn't really hit me yet.
"Seamus was an amazing man with a bubbly personality. He was a very open person, nothing was hidden with him. He was a real people's person.
"In work, he could motivate a class, and while he was laid-back he was also a free spirit and very popular.
"This is a devastating situation, not only for his family but for the whole town."
Christina and her husband, Martin, visited Seamus in hospital only two weeks ago.
"I am glad we saw him. He looked asleep, as if he was waiting to wake up," she said.
Monaghan Ladies team manager Annmarie Burns said: "I asked him to come in with us this year as our physio.
"He was known all around Monaghan and was involved with more teams, including football. He was involved with fitness centres too and was very highly thought of.
"The loss is unimaginable. It was such a shock, we hoped he would pull through."
A festival in Carrickmacross this weekend included a stand from the Carrickmacross Emmets GAA club.
Councillor Padraig McNally, the chairman of Carrickmacross and Castleblayney Municipal District, offered his sympathies to the family.
"This is a tragic event," he said. "The town of Carrickmacross is shocked, and although we are in the middle of a festival, the mood is very sombre.
"A lot of people prayed for the recovery of Seamus, but sadly it was not to be."
On his Facebook page, people paid tribute to Mr Bell.
Dara Burke said: "Heartbreaking to hear the news ... you were a gentleman. Deepest sympathy to your little boy, twin girls, your partner and your family."
Bren Cooney said: "A tragedy doesn't come close to describing this. My heart goes out to your good friends and family."
The results of the post-mortem examination will be included in a file being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions by Carrickmacross gardai.
A 34-year-old Lithuanian man has been charged in relation to the assault of Mr Bell.
He is currently in custody in Cloverhill Prison and is due to appear in court on June 21.