Gardai arrest two people in relation to the murder of pensioner Seamus Doherty in Donegal
GARDAI have arrested two people in relation to the murder investigation into the death by strangulation of a pensioner in Co Donegal.
Gardai say they are following a definite line of inquiry in a murder probe after a pensioner was found strangled at his home.
Seamus Doherty (67) was being treated for psychiatric problems in recent months after being found guilty of punching a local priest.
A male aged in his 40s was arrested yesterday evening and a female in her 50s was arrested this morning.
They are both being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, at Letterkenny Garda Station.
Mr Doherty’s body was found at his family home in Co Donegal in the early hours of Sunday and his death was being treated as unexplained until a post-mortem established new injuries to his neck.
The father-of-four was found in the bathroom of the small cottage in the townland of Drumacanoo, Glenswilly, six miles from Letterkenny.
A number of people were at the house when gardai and ambulance crews responded to an emergency call.
Garda Supt Eugene McGovern told the Irish Independent last night that Mr Doherty had suffered a "traumatic" death.
He said certain injuries had been visible on Sunday but the circumstances in which the body was found did not match up with witness accounts.
Supt McGovern said gardai had spoken to a large number of people about the death as part of their overall investigation.
But he was anxious to speak to anyone who had seen Mr Doherty between 9pm on Saturday and 1.40am the next day.
Forensic officers continued to work inside and outside the semi-detached house yesterday.
"How he died is now known and gardai are concentrating on a definite line of inquiry," said one source.
Mr Doherty was well-known in the area and his wife Ann and four grown-up children -- Annette, Brid, Catriona and Brian -- have met gardai on a number of occasions since his death.
"They are just devastated," said a relative. "Some people had a perception of Seamus but the reality was he was a good man at heart. He had some problems like a lot of people but he was a decent man who loved his family."
In the neighbouring parish of Churchill, three miles away, Mr Doherty attacked parish priest Father Michael McKeever during a Mass last January.
In March this year a district court judge placed him in the care of the mental health services and the Probation Service after the pensioner admitted that he punched the priest during a drunken outburst.
He was also fined €300 for a number of other offences including being drunk in a public place and obstructing traffic.
Father McKeever said he didn't want to comment yesterday, adding: "That incident was well in the past."
Anyone with information on the murder is asked to contact Letterkenny garda station at 074 9167100, or the Garda confidential line, 1800 666 111.