Bicycle row may have ended in murder

Gardaí have searched two properties close to where a man was murdered in broad daylight in south Dublin as the hunt continues for his killers.

Bicycle row may have ended in murder

Karl Holmes, a 44-year-old from Homelawn in Tallaght, died after he was beaten and possibly stabbed with a samurai sword when a row escalated into a physical assault on Thursday evening.

The incident, in Avonbeg Gardens, may have involved up to six people.

One theory being explored by gardaí is that the verbal row, which began at around 5.30pm, was over the way a child was riding a bicycle.

It quickly escalated into a physical assault, with Holmes — a former amateur boxer — being struck a number of times. Gardaí could not confirm whether a samurai sword was used, but have not ruled it out.

A postmortem on the body of Holmes began at 2pm yesterday, with gardaí hoping it would provide a definitive cause of death. Door-to-door inquiries were also being conducted in the Avonbeg Gardens area.

Separately, two properties were being searched by members of the Garda Forensic Science Bureau.

Supt Peter Duff, who is leading the murder probe, said it was unknown at this stage whether Holmes — who had a number of previous convictions — was involved at the beginning of the initial verbal altercation, or whether he joined it at a later stage.

Supt Duff said the row began as a “low-key” affair but rapidly escalated. He said gardaí were also seeking access to any CCTV footage in the area. “It is a residential area, there are no shops within the line of sight, but in from our experience some people can have CCTV to cover their homes,” he said.

The scene this morning in the Avonbeg Gardens area of Tallaght. Pic: Colin Keegan.

It is understood the two houses and gardens which were the subject of forensic searches yesterday are just a few hundred metres from Holmes’s house.

Following the attack on Thursday, he was rushed to nearby Tallaght Hospital, where he died about an hour later. It is understood that while a samurai sword may have been produced during the attack, it is uncertain if it was used to assault Holmes. Gardaí are also investigating if a hammer was used.

There is no suggestion the attack was part of a feud or any longstanding neighbourhood disagreement, nor do gardaí believe it is linked to Holmes’s criminal past.

He had convictions for public order offences and for breaching the peace. Six years ago he was sentenced to a year in prison after being found guilty of defrauding Revenue of over €50,000 as part of a construction scam.

In 1994, he was jailed for five years for a head butt attack. The victim, his 20-year-old neighbour, Thomas Weekes, died three days later.

Holmes had pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Weekes in the incident in October 1992. Mr Holmes was released in 1996, when a judge described him as a model prisoner.

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