Murder victim had 31 fractures to his ribs

A father of two who was beaten to death after an argument suffered 31 fractures to his ribs as well as a broken collarbone and breastbone, an inquest heard yesterday.

Anthony Fallon, aged 46, from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, died as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head and trunk, the inquest jury found after hearing evidence of what coroner Paul Morris described as “the most horrific incident I’ve heard in many a year”.

John Hannigan, aged 46, of River House, Clonmel, was convicted of the murder at the Central Criminal Court earlier this year.

Mr Fallon was described in the coroner’s court as “quiet and unassuming” as well as “harmless”, and was nicknamed Elvis because of his hairstyle.

He was found lying in the lobby of the River House apartment complex in Clonmel early on January 18, 2012. He lived around the corner in a flat at No 2 Abbey St, and some neighbours reported shouting and banging between 1am and 6am that day.

“There was shouting and fighting about a television, there was definitely something about a television,” said neighbour Samantha Regan. “It was two male voices.”

Garda Shane Kiely told the inquest that, when he arrived at the scene, Hannigan was standing at the top of the steps at the lobby in River House and said Mr Fallon had rung his doorbell looking for help.

“John Hannigan was very anxious and agitated,” said Garda Kiely. “He said the last thing he [Anthony] said to him was ‘Polish’. John Hannigan said that Anthony had been beaten up by some Polish person lately and maybe they had done it again.”

A local shopowner, Michael McDermott, said that, at about 6.08am on January 18, a man came in asking to buy vodka. “His face was very badly beaten, he was covered in blood.”

Mr McDermott said the man told him there were two people outside the shop. “He said to me: ‘I have to get drink because if I don’t the people outside the shop will kill me and might kill you.’ ”

He recognised one of the men outside as someone who was barred from the shop. He later realised the man trying to buy vodka was called ‘Elvis’.

Elma Fallon said she was married to Anthony for 23 years and they had an “on-off relationship” since their twin sons, now aged 22, were five years old. She had to identify Anthony’s body in South Tipperary General Hospital.

State pathologist Marie Cassidy said there were “significant injuries” to the head and chest. There were 31 separate fractures to the ribs, consistent with “crushing-type injuries” and a weight being placed on his chest, or by someone stamping or jumping on him.


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