AN ELDERLY horse trader renowned for running a roulette wheel at the country’s fairs was found dead in his home yesterday after an apparent robbery.
The 83-year-old, named locally as Christy Hanley, had been attacked in the family house on Main Street, Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath. Gardaí said they found Mr Hanley dead in his home after the alarm was raised at about 10am. Officers, reportedly, had to force their way inside.
It also emerged yesterday that Mr Hanley had been the victim of a robbery in the late 1990s. Relatives claimed “thousands of punts” had been stolen on that occasion but no one had been brought to justice.
Mr Hanley bred and traded horses locally, but was best known for his roulette wheel on street stalls at race meetings and town fairs around the country. Ireland’s oldest festival, the Puck Fair in Killorglin, Co Kerry, listed him as one of its most famous characters.
Paddy Dunican, manager at Kilbeggan racecourse, said the town was stunned by the tragedy. “He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered,” said Mr Dunican. “I just spoke to some of his relatives and they are all in a state of shock.”
Locals suggested robbers had targeted Mr Hanley because they believed he was keeping money in the house rather than lodging it with the bank.
Deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis conducted a postmortem last night as the Garda investigation continued.
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