Murder victim told friends he feared for his safety

The father of two murdered at his home in Kerry had told friends he was concerned about his safety in the weeks leading up to his brutal death.

James Cahillane, who was beaten to death and burned in the early hours of last Thursday, was living in fear and had considered installing CCTV cameras on his property.

He told pals and work colleagues he believed somebody had gained access to his rural bungalow at Ardraw, Beaufort, in the weeks before his death. The 58-year-old electrician noticed items were out of place and he was convinced somebody had been in the house while he was out.

Gardaí have also confirmed that home heating oil had been stolen from a tank outside his home last December, while a supply of timber had also been removed from his garden.

Friends have also revealed that two distinctive ornamental eagles had been stolen from the entrance pillars to his three-bedroomed house, which was gutted in last week’s fire.

Extra gardaí have been drafted in to Kerry to assist in the hunt for Mr Cahillane’s killers and detectives spearheading the case believe those responsible for his dreadful death may have been known to him.

The popular man had withdrawn a small amount of money from an ATM machine in Killorglin just minutes before he called a taxi to bring him home after a night out with friends.

One theory being examined is that somebody might have been watching as Mr Cahillane used the machine at the AIB in the town centre. They are scrutinising CCTV footage from a number of business premises in the area.

Mr Cahillane, who lived alone, went to Sheehan’s pub in the town square on Wednesday of last week, before buying groceries in Champ’s Eurospar and joining friends in Clifford’s Tavern to play cards. He left at 11.50pm.

The taxi driver, who waited outside Mr Cahillane’s house on a dimly lit road until his passenger reached the front door, did not see anything suspicious. Gardaí are trying to determine if the man’s killers were waiting for him or if they followed him home.

One neighbour told how he heard a vehicle on the roadway about an hour before a loud bang alerted neighbours to the fire.

It was thought Mr Cahillane’s death was an accident but an autopsy showed he had been beaten.

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