Hardman dies after fall from wheelie bin

A former heavyweight boxer and reputed crimeland hardman was found dead at his West Cork home yesterday after a domestic accident.

 Billy Isaac and Siobhan Ginty from Durrus; West Cork appearing at Bantry District Court last month. Picture: Niall Duffy

Billy Isaac, jailed by a local district court last month for assaulting a waitress who had alleged disrespected him, is understood to have fallen off a wheelie bin as he attempted to get into a window in his house, known as Ratsville.

Gardaí said an investigation is at a preliminary stage but strongly indicated the death was not suspicious.

It is believed he may have accidentally locked himself out of his Durrus, Bantry, home, described by some friends as “a fortress”.

The body was found early yesterday in the two-storey house the 45-year-old shared with a 23-year-old partner. She was due to return to West Cork tomorrow after visiting relatives in England.

The pair were both due before a circuit court appeal hearing in December following convictions, and terms of imprisonment, last month, for assaults on a waitress at a Durrus restaurant in April last.

The body was removed to Cork University Hospital for an autopsy, the result of which will be known today.

Wrought-iron electric gates, along with pillars and a postbox at the house in Dromreagh, all have ornamental rat symbols. A Bentley and a white BMW estate had been parked at the two-storey house with a cut-stone facade.

Manchester-born Isaac, a security company boss who had once revelled in his notorious hard man image, had been a regular visitor to West Cork with his late father since the mid-1990s. He said, at last month’s court hearing in Bantry, he brought his girlfriend to Cork to “start a new life”.

Associated with a number of top crime gangs in both Manchester and London, he had described his life in Britain as horrible.

His most recent imprisonment in Britain was at Croydon Crown Court in July for sending abusive texts to his girlfriend’s ex-partner. After his release in late August, he arrived in Durrus.

Isaac, a professional boxer who won several bouts in the heavyweight division in the 1990s, was reportedly in good shape, keeping himself fit. He was easily identified by three, teardrop tattoos just below the eye. The symbolic tattoo generally has no fixed meaning but is normally associated with some connection to prison.

His previous court record was not outlined to the district court, last month, but Isaac admitted he had previously been convicted in British courts of assaults along with a charge of possession of ammunition.

In the witness box, he took full responsibility for an attack on waitress Lucie Kopecka, aged 31, and a waiter Christophe Zilliox and said he wished he could turn back the clock.

Handing down a five-month sentence, Judge James McNulty described the attack as “a shocking display of thuggery and violence on an innocent person”. An independent bail bond was put down, after the hearing, to secure his release for appeal purposes.

Isaac had been jailed for three years in Manchester in 2005 for possession of revolver ammunition, but in separate British trials over the past decade, he was acquitted of murder, blackmail, and assault.

In one case in 2010, he was also acquitted of threatening to kill an English businessman’s wife and children if he did not hand over €3m. The acquittal came after he received a character reference from world champion boxer Ricky Hatton, who had described Isaac as being a great inspiration.

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