BILLY Isaac moved to Ireland to escape his violent past. But the reminders of the former professional boxer's murky British gangland associations were all too evident in the quiet west Cork community that he called his new home.
Scarred and tattooed with a shaven head, the 6ft 4in Isaac was a fearsome figure.
But the 45-year-old's physical appearance was nothing compared with the reputation that he brought from the UK as one of the most dangerous men on the periphery of Manchester's and London's gangland scene.
Locals were shy of offending Isaac while west Cork gardai were inundated with calls from the UK from those determined to enlighten them about Isaac's past.
His secluded house at Dromreagh outside Durrus was nicknamed 'the fortress' because of its elaborate CCTV surveillance camera systems and electronic security gates.
Others called it ‘Ratville’ because of Isaac’s decision to have rodent designs included on the gates and fence of the property.
It was part of an affectionate joke between the former boxer and his partner, Siobhan Ginty (23).
The driveway to the Isaac's property was almost always dominated by the cars so beloved of Manchester and Liverpool 'hardmen', such as Jaguars, Bentleys and even an old Rolls-Royce.
Isaac, whose intimidating appearance was made all the more ferocious by three gangland-style tear-drop tattoos under his left eye, also loved to chat in local pubs about his boxing past and friendship with former world champion Ricky Hatton.
All of which makes it easy to understand why neighbours found it hard to credit last Wednesday that Isaac, with all his violent associations, should die in a freak accident when he fell while trying to climb in a window of his home after locking himself out.
The boxer, who weighed over 18 stone, is believed to have climbed on to a wheelie bin to clamber through the open window before slipping and falling on to the back of his head and neck, fracturing his vertebrae.
A post-mortem examination in Cork University Hospital (CUH) indicated that the fatal injury to his head and neck was consistent with a fall from a height.
Gardai are not treating the death as suspicious, though a file will be prepared for a Cork coroner's inquest.
Isaac's body was discovered at 11.30am last Wednesday in a downstairs room after gardai were alerted when a contractor was unable to make contact as arranged with the ex-boxer.
Isaac's girlfriend, Siobhan Ginty, 23, was visiting family and friends in Manchester when the accident occurred.
The boxer may have been lying dead at the property for up to 12 hours before he was found.
It was a sad end for a man who 25 years ago was tipped by many to emerge as one of Britain's top professional boxing prospects.
But, after just two professional bouts including one victory by knockout, the Manchester-based heavyweight inexplicably retired.
One of his last contributions to the sport was the blunt admission as to what heavyweight boxers like himself considered a good social outing.
"My idea of a good night out was 12 pints of lager, a fight in the car park, wreck a curry house and then pull an old bird. They were great times but I have calmed down now," he told shocked sports reporters.
Three years later, Isaac was facing a murder trial.
He was subsequently acquitted of the 1995 murder of Thornley Lane businesswoman Pat Hayes (46).
She was shot twice in the head as she slept.
Isaac, who ran his own Manchester-based security firm at the time, was accused of carrying out the killing on behalf of another person so they could take possession of Ms Hayes's property assets.
The boxer was found not guilty by a jury.
However, 10 years later Isaac received a prison term for the possession of ammunition that was found by police stuffed in a white sock inside his Jaguar car.
Isaac insisted he only had the revolver rounds in 2005 so they could be turned into personal jewellery.
Before his move to Ireland, Isaac was acquitted, following further trials, of assault causing serious harm, blackmail and intimidation.
In 2010, he was also acquitted of threatening to kill an English businessman's wife and children if he did not hand over £2.5m (€3.5m).
The trial heard that the alleged target on Teeside was advised, after being threatened by four men, to go and look up 'Billy Isaac' on the internet.
The businessman was then given a week to find £2.5m and warned that if he was £10 short he would then be charged £200,000-a-day in interest.
Isaac's acquittal on the charge came after he received a glowing character reference from Ricky Hatton.
Hatton, who said he had known Isaac for 10 years and sparred with him in Manchester, described him as "a credit to the sport".
"He was a great inspiration and used to help my training sessions," the former world champion said.
"He helped local youngsters to get off the streets and into shape. He also taught them to be respectful to others. He is a credit to the sport."
Gym owner Bob Shannon who worked with both men said Isaac was "a genuine, caring person".
"Don't take the book by its cover . . . of course Billy's a very hard lad but he's got another side to him," he said.
However, Isaac's move to Ireland to begin a new life with his young girlfriend quickly ran into problems.
In September, he was jailed for five months by Bantry District Court after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a waitress and a chef in a local bistro.
Isaac admitted he had encouraged his girlfriend to beat up the waitress whom he felt had "disrespected" him by not taking his food order quickly enough.
Judge James McNulty described the assault on Lucie Kopecka, 31, in The Gateway Bistro in Durrus as "a shocking display of thuggery".
The court heard that, after his girlfriend had kicked and punched the waitress while the boxer blocked her only escape route, Isaac turned to her and said: "Finish her off and do it properly this time."
Isaac received a five-month prison sentence but was freed on bail after he lodged an appeal against the severity of the sentence. Siobhan Ginty, who was sentenced to four months, pleaded guilty to the assault. However, she is appealing the severity of the sentence.