Sunday 29 March 2015

St Patrick's Day killing victim (21) was beaten with golf club on street

Conor Feehan and Tom Brady

Published 19/03/2014 | 02:30

Members of the gardai at the scene where Jay Saunders (inset) was found injured in Cabra. The victim died later of his injuries
Members of the gardai at the scene where Jay Saunders (inset) was found injured in Cabra. The victim died later of his injuries
victim of the attack, 21-year-old Jay Saunders
Two men mourn the victim of the attack, Jay Saunders
Gardai seal off the scene of the crime in Cabra, Dublin
two men mourn the victim of the attack, 21-year-old Jay Saunders

A young man was beaten to death with a golf club after a drunken St Patrick's Day celebration.

Gardai believe 21-year-old Jay Saunders was savagely attacked by a drinking companion after they failed to buy more alcohol in the early hours of yesterday.

Mr Saunders attempted to buy drink in a shop in the Dublin suburb of Cabra and shortly afterwards became involved in a vicious row.

He was struck several times in the head, face and upper body with the golf club and then collapsed to the ground near the Cabra House pub after being chased by his attacker into the street out of a nearby flat.

Mr Saunders, who celebrated his 21st birthday last month, was still alive when he was found by passers-by shortly after 7.30am.

He was rushed to the Mater Hospital by the emergency services but was pronounced dead an hour later.

State pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy carried out a post-mortem examination of the body yesterday evening. The outcome will determine if the gardai inquiries will be upgraded to a murder investigation.

The incident took place not far from the victim's home at Fassaugh Avenue in Cabra, where he lived with his mother.

The youngest of five children, Mr Saunders was unemployed.

He had been drinking elsewhere earlier in the day and then returned to the flat where he was joined by others.

Investigating gardai said last night that the row seemed to have erupted after they could not buy more alcohol and then spilled over into the street.

Officers recovered a golf club, which they believe was the weapon used in the attack, when they searched the roof of a nearby premises.

Gardai later arrested a 23-year-old man in Cabra and he was taken to Finglas garda station.

Shortly afterwards, detectives detained a 25-year-old man in Finglas and he was taken to Blanchardstown station on suspicion of withholding information about a crime.

Forensic checks on the golf club are being carried out to confirm if it was the weapon used by the attacker.

On Sunday, Mr Saunders had posted a message on his Facebook page, stating, "Paddy's Day is gonna be a messy one".

Gardai last night appealed to anyone who spotted unusual activity near the shops at Fassaugh Avenue between 6am and 8am yesterday to contact them.

ANXIOUS

Supt Dave Taylor said they were particularly anxious to contact a taxi driver who had taken a group of people to the party before the attack took place.

"Also, anyone who was heading into work or making deliveries, we would ask those people to come forward and talk to us because they may have important information," he added.

"A number of people rendered assistance to the deceased at the scene and we would also like to talk to them."

A woman who knew the victim said Mr Saunders' brother was a champion dancer and taught dance classes.

Family members paused briefly at the garda cordon yesterday and laid flowers near where he had been attacked.

A very distressed friend was comforted at the scene, while one local said: "We've only just come from the hospital. He was a grand lad."

Gardai sealed off a section of the road between Killalane Road and Dunmanus Road while a forensic examination was being completed. Officers are hoping that footage from a CCTV camera at a nearby Centra shop may have captured the horrific attack and help identify the culprit.

Irish Independent

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