Murdered dad's body flown home
Europe-wide hunt for English suspect in shooting of good Samaritan
Published 07/08/2010 | 05:00
THE body of an Irish holidaymaker murdered in Spain last week was brought home yesterday afternoon.
John O'Neill (41) was shot dead outside a pub in the seaside resort of Benalmadena after trying to defuse a row in the early hours of Wednesday, July 28.
The gunman fled the scene and a Spanish judge has issued a European arrest warrant for the 35-year-old Englishman believed to be behind the attack.
Mr O'Neill, a father of two from Coolock in Dublin, had been on a short holiday on the Costa del Sol.
His family had been waiting since Tuesday to bring his body back to Dublin for burial after delays in the repatriation process.
His partner has yet to tell their three-year-old son that his father is dead.
His remains were brought home by Aer Lingus, with the flight landing in Dublin Airport at about 3pm.
An undertaker was on hand to help transfer Mr O'Neill's body to a waiting coroner's ambulance and it is understood that a second post-mortem will take place in Dublin in the coming days.
A family spokesman said funeral arrangements had not yet been confirmed but the service is expected to take place early next week.
Mr O'Neill was one of dozens of Irish holidaymakers who had flown to Spain for a wedding.
However, a row broke out in Coco's Bar on the Tuesday night and although Mr O'Neill is believed to have acted as peacemaker, he was shot after the Englishman returned to the pub with a pistol.
Mr O'Neill stumbled out into the street and collapsed in a pool of blood by a bus stop 50 yards away, where he died despite the efforts of paramedics to save him.
His girlfriend Maxine Sutcliffe suffered a panic attack and was also treated but she was not injured.
Mr O'Neill worked as a plasterer and is survived by two children, Jake (3) and Jasmine, who is just nine months old.
Ms Sutcliffe has described the process of trying to get her partner's body released as a nightmare.