Suspect arrested over murder of father-of-two in knife attack

A MAN in his 30s was in custody in Limerick last night on suspicion of the murder of a father-of-two who suffered multiple stab wounds in a frenzied knife attack.

Martin Purcell’s body was found in his rented flat at 44 Wickham Street in Limerick city last Friday morning.

The popular 54-year-old suffered multiple injuries, including a stab wound to his neck.

Detectives investigating the murder of the former Eircom worker arrested a man in the city centre yesterday afternoon. The suspect was being questioned about the murder at Henry Street Garda Station last night under Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act.

It is understood a number of items, including the possible murder weapon, were recovered at the weekend.

The crime scene was extended yesterday to Upper Gerald Griffin Street, where a property was sealed off as part of the inquiry.

Gardaí are still working to establish a motive for the murder, which may have taken place up to 24 hours before the body was found.

A postmortem carried out by assistant state pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar confirmed Mr Purcell died from multiple stab wounds.

The victim, who had never come to the attention of the gardaí before, was last seen in the Wickham Street area on Wednesday and it’s understood the middle of last week is a critical focal point in the investigation.

Gardaí have confirmed there was no sign of forced entry to Mr Purcell’s flat.

Officers do not believe the murder was sexually motivated and say the body was not mutilated.

Yesterday’s arrest has been described as a significant breakthrough in the inquiry but gardaí are still appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

Superintendent Frank O’Brien, who is leading the inquiry, said of the murder victim: “Martin was a well-liked member of the community. He comes from a very well-known family here in Limerick and worked all his life.

“Unfortunately, in recent years he suffered a degree of disability, which prevented him from carrying out a full -time job.”

Friends of Mr Purcell, who was separated, described the father of two grown-up children as a “popular, generous man” who enjoyed a few pints and was a regular in Flannery’s pub on Wickham Street.

He is survived by his son Barry, daughter Amy, sisters Angela and Susan and brother Barry.

Removal takes place from Crosses funeral home tomorrow at 7.30pm, with funeral Mass on Wednesday at 11am at St Brigid’s Church.

More in this section