News Irish News

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Murder victim found in Dublin Mountains may have been beaten to death with tree branch

A photo of Michael McCoy
A photo of Michael McCoy
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Gardaí now believe that murdered environmental activist Michael McCoy was beaten to death with a tree branch.

Mr McCoy (63) was savagely assaulted as he walked his two dogs through woods in the Dublin Mountains last September.

Gardaí search a wooded area on Ballinascorney Hill where the body of Michael McCoy was found last September Picture: Collins
Gardaí search a wooded area on Ballinascorney Hill where the body of Michael McCoy was found last September Picture: Collins
Journalist, Kim Bielenberg at the entrance to Ballinascorney Wood. Photo: Damien Eagers
Gardaí searching in a wooded area on Ballinascorney Hill. Photo: Colin Keegan

Investigating officers are satisfied that his death was linked to one of the environmental campaigns he had carried out.

A post-mortem examination confirmed that he died from blunt force trauma as a result of receiving several heavy blows.

A leading member of the Dublin Mountains Conservation Group, Mr McCoy's body was found by a search team on a forest track at Ballinascorney Hill, near Brittas, at around 4am on Friday, September 30.

One of his two dogs stayed with him until his body was found.

Gardaí on Ballinascorney Hill, where the body of Michael McCoy was found in September. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins
Gardaí on Ballinascorney Hill, where the body of Michael McCoy was found in September. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Mr McCoy (63) had lodged a large number of objections to building developments and regularly distributed leaflets highlighting his campaigns.

His nephew Shoni McCoy told his funeral Mass that his uncle loved the outdoors and he had climbed mountains across Ireland with family members.

He told mourners: "Michael lived a principled life with a strong sense of right and wrong and he cared enough about issues to take a stand."

Mr McCoy had enrolled in university as a mature student and completed a degree in Irish studies last June. His brother-in-law Daniel Kelly said a senior Trinity College tutor had stated that on the roll-call of the alumni of the college, Mr McCoy's name would shine out.

Officers arrested a 40-year-old suspect the day after Mr McCoy's body was found and he was held for questioning at Tallaght garda station under the Criminal Justice Act 1984.The suspect was subsequently released without charge. He was later re-arrested for further questioning but was again let go from custody.

A second suspect, aged 36, was also held for questioning following garda inquiries.

A file is being compiled by gardaí for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if a prosecution should be brought against the suspects.

Gardaí at Tallaght have appealed to anyone who was in the wooded area around Ballinascorney Hill between Thursday, September 29, and Friday, September 30, to contact them at 01 6666000 or to phone the confidential line, 1800 666111.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News