Community in shock over brutal murder of Congo hero
A FORMER soldier who served with the United Nations in the Congo and was murdered in his home was remembered at his funeral yesterday as "a soft gentle soul".
Jimmy Boyce, 72, was beaten to death at his family home in the Limerick suburb of St Mary's Park. His body was discovered locked into an upstairs bedroom on Monday evening and it is suspected that a broken brush handle was used by the assailant during the vicious attack.
Investigating gardai have spoken to a young criminal aged in his 20s who is on temporary release from prison as part of their enquiries. However, no arrests have yet been made. It is feared that Mr Boyce may have unwittingly let his killer into his home.
Supt Frank O'Brien of Henry Street garda station described the murder as a "heinous crime". Officers are continuing to examine CCTV footage from the area in a bid to identify the killer.
At the pensioner's funeral yesterday, Canon Donough O'Malley told mourners gathered in St Mary's Church that last Monday was "a low day" for their parish.
He recalled that as well as Mr Boyce's murder, his neighbour Francis Allen, 73, died in a house fire. Canon O'Malley said Mr Boyce was "beaten to death brutally in the privacy of his own home".
"He was beloved and respected and interacted positively with all his neighbours. We thank God for the outpouring of love and prayer and horror during this past week for all must be measured against the backdrop of what the scriptures inform us of: faith, hope and love."
Mr Boyce served with the defence forces from 1956 to 1962 and was based with the UN in the Congo in 1961. Canon O'Malley said he was part of the peacekeeping mission and "was willing to lay down his life for the well-being of others".
Close friend Noel Woodland spoke on behalf of the Boyce family. "I knew Boycie since he came back from England to look after his brother Joseph after his mother died. Jimmy was his name but he was known as Boycie to all his friends.
"He was the nicest man I ever met. He had very poor health in the last couple of years but never complained," Mr Woodland said.
Garda investigations are continuing.