Dead man's phone yields clue to save woman's life
Gagged, bound victim traced after partner found at bottom of cliff
Published 11/11/2011 | 05:00
A SIM card retrieved from the mobile phone of a man who had plunged to his death saved the life of his partner who had been left bound and gagged in their home for a day and a half.
Gardai found the card when they were trying to identify the body of the man, who had fallen from the top of the Cliffs of Moher.
The phone details led gardai to his house in Roscommon early yesterday, where they discovered his partner tied to a bed and unable to move.
The woman, who was identified last night as separated mother-of-two Collette Keane, was found after gardai forced their way into her top-floor apartment home at Anvil Court in the centre of Roscommon town around 1am.
Ms Keane, in her 50s, was badly dehydrated and traumatised and was thought to have been there since Tuesday night.
She was taken by ambulance to Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, where her condition was described as serious but not life-threatening.
Investigating detectives were unable to interview Ms Keane yesterday as she remained under medical care but they expect to talk to her when her condition has improved.
The body of her partner, Paul Timothy, a 47-year-old Englishman, was discovered at the bottom of the Cliffs of Moher around 4pm on Wednesday.
He had been on a coach tour from Galway city to the popular tourist attraction when he disappeared.
The alarm had been raised 90 minutes earlier after Mr Timothy failed to return to his bus.
Gardai are working on the basis that the two incidents are linked.
Mr Timothy was captured on CCTV cameras while walking around Galway earlier on Wednesday.
He is understood to have made a phone call to a friend, indicating that Ms Keane had been tied up in the apartment but this information was not acted upon.
Gardai from Ennistymon, Co Clare, were alerted when Mr Timothy did not return to the coach.
After a body was found they searched his clothing as they were attempting to identify him.
Officers recovered his SIM card and made contact with the mobile phone company, which supplied his address in Roscommon town.
Gardai called to the apartment at 1am yesterday and when they could not get a response they decided to force entry into the apartment.
They found Ms Keane bound hand and foot, gagged and tied to a bed. They have not yet been able to pinpoint exactly how long she had been there but believe that she was attacked on Tuesday evening or night.
One senior officer said last night: "She might not have been found for several days if the SIM card had not been recovered and we were able to find out the address."
Mr Timothy had been living in Ireland for around 10 years and was understood to have been involved in a relationship with Ms Keane for the past nine or 10 months.
He was known locally as "Angelo" because he earned a living working as a painter and decorator and general handyman.
Ms Keane had been on sick leave from her job in Tesco supermarket in Roscommon for some time.
According to neighbours, she had been complaining about a problem with her shoulder, for which she received medical treatment.
She had been renting the top-floor apartment since August 2009.
Locals were in shock yesterday as news of Mr Timothy's tragic death filtered through the town.
"Paul was very well known and liked and would have done work for a lot of families in this town," businessman David Molloy, who owns the 'Carry Out' off licence on Main Street said.
"He was a gifted tradesman and someone with an analytical mind, who could look at a problem and find a solution."
Neighbours at Anvil Court said they did not hear any disturbances at the apartment.
One told the Irish Independent: "I knew nothing until the guards were knocking on my door in the middle of the night, asking if they could come into my flat to gain access upstairs. They had to break down the door to get in.
"I went outside and the next thing the ambulance staff were bringing her out in a wheelchair."
The neighbour said she did not know Ms Keane well and rarely saw her, even though they shared the house, which was divided into two apartments.
There are eight semi-detached houses in the Avril Court complex, which is off Castle Street, in the centre of Roscommon town.
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