Journalists are refusing to leave the final chapter untold in a bid to help bring ‘cold case’ killers to justice, writes
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Gus Hornibrook: Gardaí still hoping for return call about brutal Cork murder
The unlawful killing of any person is hard to comprehend — but the savagery inflicted upon pensioner Gus Hornibrook in 2007 is unfathomable to even the most hardened of minds.
The 73-year-old was found dead in his home on Templeacre Avenue in Gurranabraher in Cork after midday on November 6, 2007, by his brother Robert. It is believed he had been killed some hours earlier, late on November 5.
Nobody has ever been questioned or charged in relation to the murder.
In a sign of the well-respected community spirit in the area, Mr Hornibrook had always left his door unlocked. There was no sign of forced entry at the home, no sign of robbery, and actual sums of cash were found in the house after the killing.
An inquest into Mr Hornibrook’s death heard that his hands had been bound to his sides by two neck-ties, and then wrapped around his flexed knees.
He had cuts to both sides of his face, blood on his hands, several rib fractures, and fractures to the bones in his neck. Material was found in his mouth, indicating a pillow had been held over his face.
A key clue was the discovery by gardaí of a Profumo tie at the scene, which detectives believe is linked to the murderer or murderers.
Very few of the ties had been sold in Cork, and it was hoped that releasing a photograph of it would provide a breakthrough in the case.
However, no breakthroughs have ever been made in the 13 years since.
The tie is navy and blue, believed not to belong to Mr Hornibrook, and gardaí believe it holds significant evidential value.
Gus Hornibrook was last seen at 9.30pm at his home, mere minutes after leaving Singleton’s shop on Gurranabraher Rd. He had also visited a local chipper that evening, a part of his regular daily routine.
Mr Hornibrook was often seen walking along the local roads at all times of the day, as well as feeding the birds in the area.
Footage of him in Singleton’s shop, along with a reconstruction of his last known movements, were aired onon RTÉ in November 2012.
Up to a dozen calls were received after the programme was aired, but the appeal soon found itself in familiar territory — maddeningly frustrating and with no fresh leads to work with.
Detectives think there are people who know what happened to Gus Hornibrook but have not come forward out of fear of retribution.
One man may have vital information which could alter the progress of the investigation, detectives believe.
He rang Gurranabraher Garda Station on November 7, 2017, at 9.55am and spoke to Detective Garda Derek Mulcahy for five and a half minutes.
He said he could make further contact later that day, but failed to do so. Despite numerous appeals by gardaí and Mr Hornibrook’s family, the man has never revealed himself or any further information.
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James Cahillane: James was badly beaten and house burned to conceal attack
The body of James Cahillane was discovered in his home at Ardraw, Beaufort, Killorglin, Co Kerry on April 19, 2012 shortly after neighbours saw smoke emanating from the burning house.
Upon investigation, it emerged that James had been badly beaten, and died as a result of blunt force trauma and smoke inhalation.
According to gardaí, the 58-year-old Killorglin native had moved five kilometres to Beaufort in later years. He was well liked and a popular individual, and had worked in a company in the town for 20 years, socialising in the town regularly. On Wednesday, April 18, James left his place of work in the town and went to two local pubs.
A short time before midnight he got a taxi home from Clifford’s Pub. The taxi driver waited until he got safely inside his house. This was the last time James was seen alive. At 2am the fire was discovered by a neighbour who alerted the emergency services.
Chelsea were playing Barcelona in the Champions League that night, which gardaí have hoped may trigger a memory in someone who may have seen anything of suspicion or something odd to assist the investigation.
Shortly after 1am, two people out hunting foxes stopped briefly outside James’s house but noted nothing suspicious. Just one hour later, the house was on fire.
Gardaí said in an appeal in 2017 that they wanted to acknowledge the support and assistance received from the local community, but appealed for anyone within the community with information to come forward.
“I am convinced there are people in the Killorglin and mid-Kerry area who may have some information in relation to this unsolved murder. Five years have passed. Friendships, loyalties and associations may have changed,” Supt Flor Murphy told a press conference in 2017 to mark the fifth anniversary of the crime.
The house was destroyed and that was deliberate, Supt Murphy said, to conceal the crime and destroy evidence.
However a hammer head which may have been the murder weapon was recovered, the Supt revealed.
Gardaí believe James Cahillane may have been targeted that evening and the person responsible may have known him and they cannot rule out the person lay in wait for him, Supt Murphy said.
Mr Cahillane’s daughter Lisa revealed that day how difficult it had been for herself and her brother to know herthat “a good father and a good man” had died in this way.
“It’s been incredibly hard. Obviously we still don’t have any answers for this crime. We do really want to get some answers and so we are appealing to anyone’s conscience out there to come forward with any information they have,” she said.
She said her father was a very friendly, quiet, gentle man and never confrontational in any way and he never bothered anyone.