New DNA probe may reveal killer of Irishman

More than 60 years after a Co Cork man was shot dead in the US, police believe DNA may reveal his killer.

Seán Goggin, 20, from Youghal, was the victim of a likely botched robbery at a house where he was staying with a friend.

He had emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1950 but had been visiting a friend in the city of Worcester, about 65km west of Boston, when he was fatally shot in 1951.

Massachusetts detectives this week signalled a breakthrough in the crime.

Det Sgt Mark J Sawyer of Worcester’s Unresolved Homicide Unit did not give specific details, but said: “We have recently located some evidence that we believe is of probative value and that we believe is worth testing at the state crime lab. We hope to develop a DNA profile from that evidence.”

US police are still in possession of spent cartridges recovered at the scene, along with a brown felt hat.

Det Sgt Sawyer said huge advances in forensic testing, including DNA, may help to identify the perpetrators.

Mr Goggin emigrated to Canada in Jul 1950.

On Friday, Mar 9, 1951, he arrived in Worcester to stay with a friend, Donal Herlihy. Donal lived with his uncle, Cornelius Herlihy, general sales manager at United Dairy Systems.

Mr Goggin had been due to start work with UDS the following Monday but, on Sunday, Cornelius received a phonecall from a “Mr Anderson” offering to pay money owed. He presumed it was a wrong number.

Fifteen minutes later, as the household retired to bed, two men came to a rear door, claiming to have a telegram from Western Union. Cornelius Herlihy sent them to the front door, where they produced guns.

As a scuffle broke out, other members of the household arrived, and a shot from the first gunman hit the ceiling. The second man fired twice, his second shot fatally wounding Mr Goggin in the chest. The men escaped in a nearby car. Nobody was arrested.

Police suspect the motive was either robbery or kidnapping to gain access to the UDS safe.

Police recovered spent cartridges and a brown felt hat, material which was not forensically tested by today’s standards. Det Sawyer believes modern technology can identify the killers.


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