MURDER victim Toddy Dooley was battered to death with a blunt weapon and left in a pool of blood on a chair in his home.
Gardai suspect that robbery was the motive for the savage attack on the 64-year-old father of three, whose body was discovered by neighbours after he had not been seen for a couple of days.
He died from blunt-force trauma after being beaten repeatedly about the head and upper body at Sister Senan Court, a council estate for elderly people in Edenderry, Co Offaly. A cushion was placed on top of his blood-spattered head by his attacker who then fled the scene.
A post-mortem examination on his body was carried out last night at Tullamore hospital by the State Pathologist, Prof Marie Cassidy.
Thomas Dooley, known locally as Toddy, was well known in Edenderry and sold scratch cards around the town.
He was last seen alive at 11am at his local pub, known as The Long Bar, on Thursday although there was a potential sighting in that area on Friday.
But he did not collect his social welfare payments on Friday.
His neighbour, Paraic Carr, raised the alarm at 2pm on Sunday when he did not receive his usual bag of groceries from Mr Dooley, who delivered them once or twice a week.
He told Mr Dooley's next door neighbour, Margaret Farrell and she alerted the gardai, who discovered the body in the living room.
Investigating gardai said last night they were pursuing a number of lines of inquiry but at this stage robbery appeared to be the most likely motive, although Mr Dooley lived modestly.
His sister, Ann Fennessy (65), who was the first family member to be informed of his death, said: "He was a sort of a loner. I hadn't seen him for a long time – it was a couple of years ago."
Another sister, Rose Murphy (60), described her brother as "a very nice man, who loved his cans" and said he was a regular visitor to The Long Bar nearby.
She told the Irish Independent about Mr Dooley's generosity towards his neighbours. "He used to bring in turf for a few of his neighbours; he was that type of person.
"He used take my mother out for the day as well, he was very good like that."
Mr Dooley suffered from albinism, a rare congenital disorder, which resulted in very poor eyesight. He was the only sibling among eight brothers and sisters to be born with the disorder.
He had lived alone in the estate for eight years after separating from his wife, Marian, who died recently.
Resident Tom Bland (67) said he was "devastated" when he heard the news. "You'd meet him on the street but he always kept to himself. Unless you spoke to him, he wouldn't speak to you, he was that inoffensive. A terrible nice lad," he added.
He said he had last seen Mr Dooley last Wednesday or Thursday as he walked down the street to "do some shopping". Mr Bland said Mr Dooley had attended a Christian Brothers school in Cork and later taught braille to blind and visually impaired children at the institution.