DID James Cahillane know the attacker who viciously beat him and then set his home alight, leaving the 58-year-old Beaufort man to die in the hallway of his secluded bungalow?
That's one of the questions Gardai are asking as they investigate a brutal killing that has shocked the people of County Kerry.
The death of loving dad James at his Ardraw home in the early hours of last Thursday morning was initially believed to have been accidental, but a post-mortem revealed serious head injuries and other injuries not consistent with a house fire.
Garda sources say it is unlikely that the house was targetted by someone from another part of the country.
And The Kerryman has learned that Mr Cahillane had told friends that he had been concerned about his safety prior to Thursday morning's shocking attack as he believed someone had previously entered his home in the weeks leading up to his murder. BEAUFORT murder victim James Cahillane may have known the attacker who viciously beat him and left him to die as his home was set on fire.
The 58-year-old's body was found in the hallway of his rural Ardraw home shortly before 3am on Thursday morning. Initially believed to have been accidental, a post-mortem revealed serious head injuries and other injuries not consistent with a house fire.
While gardaí say they are keeping an open mind in their investigations, they have not ruled out the possibility that the father-of-two knew his attacker but have yet to come up with a motive. Garda sources, though, say it is unlikely that the house was targetted by someone from another part of the country.
Meanwhile, The Kerryman has learnt that Mr Cahillane had told friends that he had been concerned about his safety prior to Thursday morning's shocking attack.
He had stated that he believed someone had previously entered his home in the weeks leading up to his murder and had told friends that he felt certain items had been out of place. Gardaí have confirmed that oil had also been stolen from the Ardraw residence in December, while friends of the deceased have stated that the 58-year-old had considered installing CCTV at his home, a rural property partially hidden from the roadside by thick shrubbery.
Described locally as a "quiet and unassuming man who loved his cards", Mr Cahillane was viciously attacked some time after midnight after being dropped off by a local taxi firm. Left to die by his attacker as his home burned, emergency services were alerted to the scene at 2.21am. Gardaí were continuing their search for a murder weapon at time of print. A technical examination of the house is ongoing, extensive inquiries have been carried out and an incident room established at Killorglin Garda Station.
It is understood that investigators are considering the possibility that Mr Cahillane came across an intruder as he entered his property and was subsequently attacked. They are following this line as there have been a number of burglaries in the Beaufort area in recent months. While this is one possibility there is also the suggestion that the victim could have been followed home as he had withdrawn a sum of cash from an ATM at 11.25pm. Gardaí, though, say the latter is less likely and CCTV footage from Killorglin is currently being checked.
Investigating gardaí, meanwhile, have appealed to anyone who observed or spoke with Mr Cahillane, or noticed anything suspicious or unusual in vicinity of his home between 5.30pm on April 18 and 2am on April 19 to contact them at Killorglin Garda Station on (066) 9790500.
"We are anxious to talk to people who may previously have picked up Mr Cahillane on his way to, or from, town or anyone who may have had reason to visit him," Inspector Donal Ashe said.