Gardaí suspect local involvement in murder

Gardaí investigating the murder of a 58-year-old father-of-two whose battered body was discovered after a fire at his home last month, are convinced there was local involvement in the killing.

They have renewed their appeal to anybody with any information to come forward to enable them to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

The body of James Cahillane was found in the hallway of the burnt-out rural bungalow at Ardraw, Beaufort, Co Kerry, in the early hours of Apr 19 after fire crews had battled a blaze for well over an hour.

The death was initially treated as a tragic accident but it was quickly upgraded to a full murder probe after a postmortem revealed Mr Cahillane had been badly beaten before the house was set on fire.

Following a detailed review of the case this week, the officer spearheading the investigation, Inspector Donal Ashe, revealed: “We are happy that there is a local involvement. There is somebody out there who thought they had got away with this crime.”

New evidence has emerged that two men out lamping foxes on the night of the murder were in the vicinity of Mr Cahillane’s house just after midnight, but they did not notice anything suspicious.

That has led to gardaí concentrating on what happened between 12.30am and 2am when a barking dog alerted a neighbour to the blaze that had consumed the roadside bungalow.

The culprits could have been in the house before Mr Cahillane returned from a night out with friends or they might have forced their way into the dwelling after he arrived home shortly after midnight.

The separated father of two adult children, who lived alone, worked for several years as an electrical adviser with financial services giant Fexco. He finished work shortly after 5pm on Wednesday, Apr 18, and spent several hours between two local pubs before getting a taxi home shortly before midnight.

It is known that Mr Cahillane had withdrawn cash from ATM machines at least twice in the hours leading up to his death.

The murder victim’s son, Gary, said yesterday that he and his sister, Lisa, are struggling to find a way of dealing with their father’s death. She has returned to her teaching job in London and Gary is back at work with the company that employed his father in Killorglin.

“If anybody has any bit of information I would ask them not to be afraid to come forward. You would be surprised what kind of information could help. It could be another piece of the jig-saw for the authorities,” he said.

He said he hopes a televised Crimecall reconstruction of the case, screened on RTÉ on Tuesday night, might help to jog people’s memories. Gary described his father as a popular, well-liked, outgoing man who loved helping people out.

“He was just a great man who lived a simple life.”

* Those with information contact Caherciveen Garda on 066-9473600; Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111; or any Garda station.

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