Tragic pensioner who died after sex assault 'wouldn't hurt a fly'
Published 08/10/2010 | 05:00
A NEIGHBOUR who discovered his close friend lying unconscious in a pool of blood broke down last night as he recalled a kind man who "wouldn't have hurt a fly".
Tragic pensioner Johnny 'the Gouldy' Golden (73) died on Wednesday evening, having never regained consciousness following what sources have described as a violent sexual attack at his rural home close to the Cavan/Leitrim border more than four weeks ago.
A devastated Seamus Galligan, who lives with his family less than 100 metres from the victim's home in the townland of Doogary, near Killeshandra, Co Cavan, described his shock at finding him lying semi-naked on his bedroom floor.
"I saw the door open and I shouted. When I heard nothing I went in. I went into the bedroom and I saw him half under the bed.
"He was lying on his belly and moaning. I thought at first he had fallen out of the bed. There was blood on the floor beside him," he said.
It was only later it emerged that the victim had been subjected to a violent assault in which a poker and pliers are believed to have been used.
A 17-year-old youth was arrested four days later and detained for questioning for 24 hours at Ballyconnell Garda Station. He was later released without charge.
Gardai were last night awaiting the findings of a post-mortem carried out by assistant state pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar at Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, after which the investigation is likely to be upgraded to a murder inquiry.
Supt Thomas Maguire, from Ballyconnell garda station, appealed to witnesses who were in the vicinity between 8pm on September 6 and 11am the next day to come forward.
A garda was placed on duty outside the door of the Intensive Care Unit at Cavan Cavan General Hospital where Mr Golden remained in a critical condition until his death yesterday.
The Galligan family are enraged at what they say are spurious suggestions that Mr Golden was gay and had somehow provoked the assault by making a sexual advance on his attacker.
"He was like part of the family. He was not gay. We would have known if he was," said Mr Galligan's daughter Pamela.
Mr Galligan added that Mr Golden, a talented mechanic, was at his happiest when he was fixing vintage tractors.
"We're all heartbroken. He was a good-living man. He didn't deserve to die like that."
Another neighbour, Lady Sue Kilbracken, described Mr Golden, who was brought up in a Wicklow orphanage, as a "universally popular" man. "He was a harmless, sweet man who would never say a bad word about anyone," she said.