Sunday 18 February 2018

Attacker may have followed Joe home after night out before fatal assault

Joseph Deacy
Joseph Deacy
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Gardai are investigating whether 21-year-old Joseph Deacy was followed home after a night out in Mayo and fatally assaulted on his own doorstep.

Mr Deacy, who had been holidaying in Swinford, was discovered seriously injured and lying face down on the street in front of the house where he was staying on Saturday morning of last weekend. He had been out with friends the previous night and he later died of his injuries, prompting gardai to launch a murder inquiry.

The fact that his attacker followed him home is one of the main lines of inquiries now being pursued by investigators. Gardai are appealing for information from the public as they attempt to re-trace his movements from the night before.

Mr Deacy had spent Friday night of last weekend socialising with a group of friends in a pub in the town of Kiltimagh, five miles from Swinford, and is believed to have gone to a house party afterwards.

A cyclist spotted the young man lying on the street at 6am on Saturday morning of last weekend, unconscious and injured. He was rushed to Mayo University Hospital and transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where he was pronounced dead last Sunday evening.

Read More: Gardai appeal for dashcam footage as they close in on arresting suspect in the murder of GAA star (21)

One of the theories being explored was that Mr Deacy had been assaulted and then deposited outside the house, where he collapsed from his injuries. However, gardai now appear to be satisfied that Mr Deacy arrived safely back home at the end of the night, and went inside. They are now trying to find out whether Mr Deacy got into a row with anyone earlier in the evening, and was followed home afterwards.

Gardai are examining social media posts from the night. They are also looking for any mobile phone footage taken of Mr Deacy and his friends on the night out, and dashcam footage from motorists driving in the area during that crucial period.

Superintendent Tony Healy, who is leading the inquiry from Claremorris garda station, renewed his appeal to the public asking anyone who witnessed an altercation, a row or an assault in those areas on the Friday night or Saturday morning to contact the inquiry room at the station.

Joe lived in St Albans in Hertfordshire but was a regular visitor to Mayo and frequently flew over for GAA matches, usually staying with friends in the Swinford area. He played for his local club, St Colmcilles. The club posted a tribute to him on social media following his death last week, praising his character, humour and outlook on life.

The special incident room at Claremorris garda station can be contacted at 094-9371222.

Meanwhile, friends of a Mayo association in the UK, Cairde Mhaigheo London, asked for supporters to pay tribute to Mr Deacy at the All-Ireland SFC semi-final between Mayo and Kerry at Croke Park today.

"Joe was a massive Mayo fan and unfortunately has been taken away from us all too soon. Although living in England, his love for Mayo knew no bounds and he regularly made trips over to support the green and red," a statement said.

Sunday Independent

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