Saturday 1 November 2014

Brave man pushed grandchildren to safety before he died

Published 15/11/2013 | 02:00

Michael Gannon, who was stabbed at his daughter's house in Skerries
Michael Gannon, who was stabbed at his daughter's house in Skerries
Gardai remove the body of stabbing victim, grandfather Michael Gannon, from the house in Skerries, Co Dublin
State Pathologist, Marie Cassiday with Gardai at the scene of the fatal stabbing at Skerries last night.
State Pathologist, Marie Cassiday with Gardai at the scene.

The man who was stabbed to death urged his grandchildren to run to neighbours and get help.

These were the last words tragic grandfather Michael Gannon (55) uttered to his grandchildren – a girl aged 12 and a boy aged six – before he was killed.

Mr Gannon tried to shield the children and pushed them to safety.

The brave children ran to a neighbour’s house some seven doors away.

One witness told “My mam rang me and said that the kids are after coming down. As far as I know he [Mr Gannon] told his grand-daughter to go and get help.

“She ran to my mother’s to get help.

“The first person to come on the scene was my mother and she couldn’t get a  pulse.

“The two kids don’t understand what’s going on – but I’m sure their mam will sit them down and explain everything.”

“It’s a shock for most people around here.”

“Nobody was there. Nobody knows what happened.

It’s understood that the victim’s brother was among the first on the scene as he lives nearby.

“He was screaming his heart out,” one witness said. 

Father-of-two Michael Gannon, from Finglas, Dublin, was found in a pool of blood in his daughter's house in Mourne Park, Skerries, north county Dublin.

Local sources say Mr Gannon was earlier involved in a verbal row with another man.

It is understood that he later answered the door and was attacked in the home of his daughter, Jade Gannon, at around 5.30pm.

Relatives of the man returned to the house a short time later and were seen in a visibly distressed state as the news of his death was broken to them.

One relative who lives nearby said that they had been alerted to the stabbing by friends.

"They came running to the door and told us we had to get over to Jade's quick because there was an ambulance there," said the shocked woman.

"We're just in shock that this has happened and we're trying to take it all in."

Neighbours said Mr Gannon did not live at the house but had received a call to mind his two grandchildren that day.

However, it is not clear whether they were in the house at the time of the incident.

Martin Russell, chairman of the Mourne View Residents' Association, said: "Michael Gannon is dead doing an errand of mercy for his daughter. It is really tragic."

A large number of people from the area gathered in disbelief as gardai erected a blue forensic tent in the garden of the victim's daughter's home.

"We don't know what happened, we're just in shock. All I saw was a load of blue lights flying into to estate," one woman said.

"I don't know the family that well, except that Jade has two children, a boy aged around six, and a girl around nine years old," she added.

Gardai discovered the body of Mr Gannon on the ground in the house at around 6pm.

The row of five houses was immediately sealed off, pending a forensic examination.

State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy carried out a preliminary examination of Mr Gannon's body at the scene at around 8pm.

A suspect arrested by gardai investigating the fatal stabbing was known to his victim.

Gardai detained the suspect, who is in his late 20s, nearby after he had locked himself into his house.

But following negotiations, gardai were eventually allowed into his house and the suspect was arrested.

The stabbing was being treated officially as a suspicious death.

But gardai from Balbriggan are expected to launch a murder investigation today after a post-mortem examination has been carried out on the body of the victim.

Gardai have recovered a knife, which they suspect was used in the stabbing.

The suspect, who knew the victim for a number of years, was taken to Ballymun station for questioning.

He was being held there last night under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allowed gardai to detain him without charge for up to 24 hours, excluding rest periods.

by Tom Brady, Conor Feehan and Ken Foy

Irish Independent

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