DNA used to identify man dumped in pit

DNA samples were needed to identify a man who was murdered and whose body was dumped in a slurry pit, an inquest has heard.

Gardaí also said their investigation into the murder in west Cork last year of Gary Bull, 37, a British-born new age traveller, is at an advanced stage.

They expect to forward a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions next week.

The inquest into the death of Mr Bull, also known by his nickname Golden Tooth, opened in Clonakilty yesterday.

His body was found on October 11 last when gardaí searched a farm at Shanlaragh, about eight kilometres northeast of Dunmanway, after receiving a tip-off about suspicious activity.

They discovered a body, subsequently identified as Mr Bull, in a slurry pit. It is understood it had been there for up to two weeks and that he was killed after a row involving other new age travellers.

He had lived for up to seven years in a mobile home near Kilmichael.

Recovering the body was a major operation.

A forklift was brought in to remove concrete slabs from the top of the three-metre deep slurry pit.

A platform was built and lowered over the pit before Garda Water Unit members, using breathing equipment to avoid inhaling dangerous gasses, went into the slurry to retrieve the body.

The operation took almost two days because of safety concerns, noxious fumes and the need to preserve evidence.

A murder investigation was launched after a postmortem confirmed Mr Bull suffered a violent death.

Assistant State pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, told the inquest Mr Bull died of blunt force trauma following multiple blows to the head with a blunt instrument.

Sergeant Eamonn Brady, said gardaí had to use DNA evidence to positively identify the remains.

Superintendent Pat Maher said those tests were backed up by the fact that the deceased had a golden tooth, no spleen and a number of distinguishing scars. Gardaí are satisfied the remains were those of Mr Bull.

His body was buried in his native Hertfordshire. His two teenage daughters and elderly parents live in England and were informed about yesterday’s hearing but did not attend.

Supt Maher said it will be some time before the DPP issues directions and he asked for an adjournment.

Frank O’Connell, coroner for south and west Cork, put the inquest back for mention only in December.

Seven people were arrested in connection with Mr Bull’s death.

They included three women in Dublin, a man in Dungarvan, a woman who arrived on a flight into Cork Airport and two men in west Cork. All were released without charge.

A phone box in Grattan Square in Dungarvan was technically examined as part of the investigation.

Mr Bull’s Isuzu Trooper was found in Ballyneety, Co Limerick, on October 16. It had not been seen since September 23, the day he was last seen alive.

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