Murder probe into devoted dad’s death

A murder investigation was under way last night into the death of a “devoted dad” who may have been lying dead in an abandoned building for up to 24 hours before his body was found by teenagers.

Gardaí confirmed last night that an autopsy on Martin Brophy, 22, from Waterford City, who was found with head injuries in a former college building at about 5.30pm on Monday, revealed that he had been assaulted.

Leading the investigation, Superintendent Chris Delaney would not comment on Mr Brophy’s injuries or any possible murder weapon.

However, it is understood Mr Brophy may have been struck with a cement block sometime on Sunday evening in the disused property at the junction of New St, Newgate St, and John’s Lane in Waterford.

The last confirmed sighting of him was in the Poleberry area of the city at about 4pm on Saturday and investigators are now trying to piece together his movements on Saturday and Sunday.

His partner, Mary Smith, was yesterday described as “devastated” by her family, who said she was “too upset” to speak about Martin’s death. The couple were together for four years and had a son, Davin, aged two.

“You couldn’t meet a nicer lad,” her mother, also Mary Smith, said yesterday. “He was sound out, quiet. He idolised his family.”

Martin’s partner Mary last saw him on Saturday, when they celebrated a family first Communion with the Smiths.

“Mary was looking for him afterwards because he never leaves Davin. His son was his pride and joy.”

Martin — known as “Skip” to his friends — was originally from Ballybeg in Waterford and also lived at Viewmount on the city’s Dunmore Rd, before moving to Summerhill Terrace.

His mother died some years ago and he is survived by his father, Michael Brophy, three sisters and a brother.

He worked as a painter and decorator until the recession wiped out the building trade four years ago, and was also interested in sport, according to his partner’s mother.

Martin’s body remained at the scene on Monday night and throughout yesterday morning when members of the Garda Technical Bureau arrived to carry out a forensic examination.

The building where he died had become derelict in recent years and was frequented by young people.

Gardaí have appealed for information to be passed onto the station in Waterford City on 051 305300.

They particularly wish to speak to anyone who saw Martin on Saturday or Sunday, and for anyone living in the Newgate St, New St, John’s Lane, and Brown’s Lane areas, to contact them.

Picture: Martin Brophy with girlfriend Mary Smith

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