Murder probe gardaí insist no need for alarm

Gardaí investigating the murder of a 58-year-old man have assured locals in Killorglin, Co Kerry, there was no need for public alarm on personal safety.

The killing of separated father-of-two James Cahillane, described as an inoffensive man who lived alone in Ardraw, shocked the community.

Garda press officer Superintendent John Gilligan said people should not be afraid but should take normal security precautions for themselves and their homes.

“We’re not sending out a message that there’s need for great concern or that people should be afraid.”

The investigating team was yesterday increased from 40 to 50. Several personnel were tasked to searching the roadside from Killorglin to the late Mr Cahillane’s home which he travelled by taxi shortly before his violent death. The house, in a quiet setting, is about 300 metres down a narrow road. The location is about 5km from the town on the Beaufort road.

The scene continued to be sealed off and preserved by gardaí. The forensic examination of the house, which was extensively damaged, has not yet been completed. A smoke-blackened chimney stood out in the ruin, as the roof had collapsed almost completely.

Poignantly, bunches of flowers, one with a deck of cards attached, have been placed against a wall at the entrance gate.

Mr Cahillane, who worked as a maintenance electrician for the Fexco financial services company, took a taxi home from Bridge St, at around 11.50pm on Wednesday. He had been socialising in Sheahan’s and Clifford’s public houses.

A loud noise, like an explosion, was heard from the house which a neighbour saw on fire at 2.10am, on Thursday.

Mr Cahillane did not drive and did not own a car.

Inspector Donal Ashe yesterday issued an appeal to people who had occasionally given him lifts to contact Killorglin gardaí.

He said Mr Cahillane would have been picked up by work colleagues and by people that knew him. Others would have given him lifts home after socialising in Killorglin.

“We’re asking all these people to make sure to contact us,” the inspector said. “We’re carrying out a very thorough and detailed investigation and the response from the public to our appeals for assistance has been very good.”

At first, it was thought Mr Cahillane had died accidentally in the fire. But, an autopsy carried out by assistant state pathologist Dr Margot Bolster, in Tralee hospital showed he had head injuries and other wounds not consistent with a fire.

Gardaí described the injuries as serious and are looking for a weapon used in the attack. His body was found in the hallway.

Gardaí, insist they are maintaining an ‘open mind’ in their investigations, have not ruled out robbery as a motive. Mr Cahillane withdrew a small amount of cash from an ATM in Killorglin on Wednesday evening.

CCTV footage may also provide some vital clues in piecing together all of Mr Cahillane’s movements.

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