Monday 26 February 2018

'A likeable fella, a lovely chap' - Community in shock after young father-of-one dies following attack in England

Police appeal for information after Kevin Kelly (27) lost his life following attack
Police appeal for information after Kevin Kelly (27) lost his life following attack

Martin Grant and Denise Calnan

A young Irish man has lost his life following an early morning attack in Luton, England.

Kevin Kelly (27) died from injuries he sustained in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Bedfordshire Police have launched an investigation called 'Operation Dubnium' and have appealed to the public for assistance.

It is understood Mr Kelly is originally from a small village in east Kilkenny and was working as a plasterer in Luton.

The small community of Skeoughvosteen, which is located close to the border with Carlow, has been described as "devastated".

Police report Mr Kelly to have been in the Upper George Street area of Luton just after 5am on Sunday morning when "an altercation" broke out.

He was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries.

Police have confirmed that a man has been arrested in connection to the incident.

They are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident to get in touch.

Mr Kelly attended the St Fiachra’s National School in Skeoughvosteen and later went on to study at Borris Vocational School in neighbouring Co Carlow.

He also played GAA during his teenage years for the local Blacks & Whites GAA Club, where his sister also won an intermediate final for Kilkenny in 2008.

It is understood he travelled to Luton five years ago and established a business.

However, locals say Mr Kelly stayed in contact with friends and family back home in Kilkenny.

It is believed the last time he returned home was just five weeks ago to attend a friend's wedding.

His mother and father, two brothers and two sisters are said to be “completely devastated” by the tragic news.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Peter Cleere, who knew Mr Kelly and lives near his family home, said the entire community is shocked by the tragedy.

“I knew Kevin very well, he was a couple of years below me in primary school. The whole area is stunned,” Cllr Cleere told

“They are a well known family and well liked. He was a likeable fella and a lovely chap. He was just a nice lad and everybody is stunned.

“We are all devastated for the family. Everybody is shocked, a young man from a rural community… when the word came out nobody knew what to say.

“He loved going out for a few pints… he was just a typical rural Irish lad.”

Councillor Cleere said the whole community is “coming to terms” with the tragedy and will rally behind the father-of-one’s family over the coming days.

He added that Mr Kelly remained in close contact with his family and friends in Kilkenny.

“Even though he left, he was always around. He was constantly interacting with people. I am friends with him on Facebook and he would always remain in contact with people.

“I know he has been away for a couple of years, but it doesn’t feel like it because he kept in contact with all of his friends. He didn’t just go… he was always in touch with his friends here the whole time,” said Cllr Cleere.

It is expected Mr Kelly’s remains will be repatriated to Kilkenny.

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