Man arrested after murder of taxi driver
Victim lay for days in flat after brutal assault
Published 24/09/2010 | 05:00
Gardai last night arrested a man in connection with the brutal murder of a taxi driver in Cork who was killed by a savage blow to the head.
The 38-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening and is being held in Mayfield garda station in the city under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 in connection with the murder of Michael Healy.
Father-of-two Mr Healy (62) sustained an horrific head injury in the assault -- and was then left dying on the floor of a flat in the St Luke's area of Cork city. He could have been dead for up to three days.
Gardai launched a major manhunt for Mr Healy's murderer and yesterday appealed for anyone who was in the Rockspring Terrace area of St Luke's over the past week to contact them.
Detectives are hoping that Mr Healy's taxi -- a black 2003-registered Toyota Avensis which was removed for forensic examination yesterday -- may hold clues as to the identity of his killer.
There was no sign of forced entry at Mr Healy's flat -- and gardai are examining the possibility that the deceased may have known his killer or else may have been forced back to his flat by someone he met elsewhere.
However, gardai acknowledged that there is no obvious motive in the case -- and detectives are not, as yet, following any definite line of inquiry.
Superintendent Tom Myers said they are determined to track down whoever is responsible for Mr Healy's death.
"Door-to-door enquiries are being carried out in the St Luke's area at the moment -- our divisional search team is at the scene trying to gather evidence. We have forensic scientists from Garda HQ at the scene as well."
Supt Myers said a team of more than 40 gardai were now working on the case.
They are trying to determine if anything is missing from Mr Healy's flat as they investigate whether robbery may have been a motive in the killing.
Detectives also want to trace the last movements of Mr Healy's Toyota saloon with the registration number 03-C-4073.
Gardai are investigating two possible sightings of the car. The first was at 10.30am on Friday, September 17, and the second was in the city centre at 8.45pm on Saturday.
It is believed that Mr Healy tried to protect himself from his attacker before succumbing to a savage head injury. His body was discovered by his brother Dermot, who had gone to check on his welfare after relatives, friends and workmates became concerned at not seeing Mr Healy for several days.
The grim discovery was made at 9.45am on Wednesday.
The Rockspring Terrace building is a large, old family home which was converted several years ago into a flats complex.
Mr Healy was originally from the Grenagh area but had been living in St Luke's for some time.
He was separated and had two adult sons.
Gardai yesterday received the preliminary report from State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy, who conducted a post-mortem on the deceased at Cork University Hospital. Detailed toxicology tests were also conducted.
Detectives are also studying CCTV security-camera footage from business premises in the area to try and trace the last-known movements of the deceased.