Gardaí downgrade sword 'murder' probe after post-mortem
Detectives last night downgraded an investigation into the death of a man in Dublin after a post-mortem revealed he had a heart condition.
In an unprecedented move, gardaí in Tallaght investigating the death of Karl Holmes confirmed they are now considering the attack as violent disorder, assault and a public order incident.
It is understood tests showed Mr Holmes had a serious underlying heart condition and that he suffered a heart attack during the brutal attack at Avonbeg Gardens in Tallaght on Thursday.
A garda spokesman said: "We are continuing to appeal for witnesses to the incident and in particular to anyone who was in the Avonbeg Gardens area between 4.30pm and 6pm or anyone who may have any information to contact them in Tallaght."
Mr Holmes was attacked with weapons and punched and kicked numerous times during the assault. Up to 10 men were involved in the savage assault and some are said to be closely associated with a notorious Real IRA figure.
Mr Holmes, a 44-year-old father, was found lying unconscious on the street when emergency services arrived at the scene.
The former international boxer, who lived just a short walk from the scene, later died in hospital.
Two houses were searched in Tallaght yesterday, but there have been no arrests so far and no weapons have been recovered.
Sources involved in the investigation are examining whether a dissident Republican was involved in the altercation, which started as a row between teenagers over a bicycle.
"The IRA figure is a dangerous man, but so was Mr Holmes. He was a man with a very quick temper who was well able to use his fists and he arrived in that estate looking for trouble after the earlier incident with the bike," a source said.
Superintendent Peter Duff, of Tallaght Garda Station, yesterday appealed for witnesses to the incident and in particular he is appealing to anyone who was in the Avonbeg Gardens area between 4.40pm and 6pm on Thursday to contact gardaí.
Holmes had a number of criminal convictions for a variety of offences, including breach of the peace and public order.
He was previously jailed for five years for causing grievous bodily harm to a teenager who died three days after being head-butted.
The then-21-year-old took his victim Thomas Weekes (19) to his home after the assault to have his injury cleaned up.
After serving his sentence for this crime, Holmes continued to have brushes with the law.
In October 2009, he was jailed for a year for his part in a cartel who defrauded the Revenue of almost €53,000.