The controversial figure who featured in a TV documentary The Hard Man was found with a bullet wound to the head at his mother’s home in Southill on May 14, 2004. He died four weeks later, havingnever recovered consciousness.
Days after his funeral, family membersbegan to dig up his grave to disprove a Sunday newspaper report that a gun he used to shoot himself with was placed in the coffin.
However, gardaí moved in to prevent the illegal exhumation, which was allowed proceed when the necessary permission was obtained. No gun was found.
Mr Kelly’s family insist he was murdered and did not commit suicide. They said yesterday they intend to fight any possibility of a suicide verdict being handed down at next week’s inquest.
A spokesman for the family said: “We are building a defence to refute allegations that he shot himself. There is absolutely no evidence that we’ve heard up to now that he shot himself.”
Garda spokesman Insp Gerry McNamara said: “We investigated the death and a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and no prosecution arose out of that.”
It is believed that as far as the gardaí are concerned the investigation into the shooting is closed and they are not looking for anybody in relation to Mr Kelly’s death.
Mr Kelly served more than 11 years behind bars.
He set up his own security firm and topped the poll in Limerick City Council elections in 1999.
He had fallen on hard times before his death and moved out of the family home in Ballyneety, returning to Southill.