Saturday 16 December 2017

Farmer charged with murder of his neighbour

Accused fights back tears as he leaves courtroom after short hearing

Michael Ferris (centre) at Tralee District Court yesterday where he was charged with murder Photo: Mark Condren
Michael Ferris (centre) at Tralee District Court yesterday where he was charged with murder Photo: Mark Condren
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A farmer wept as he left court after being charged with the murder of a Kerry neighbour using a teleporter agri-machine.

Michael 'Mike' Ferris (62) appeared before Tralee District Court charged with the murder of Anthony O'Mahony (74) on Tuesday.

Mr Ferris, of Rattoo, Ballyduff, Co Kerry, is charged with the murder of Mr O'Mahony at Rattoo, just 2km outside the north Kerry village.

Judge James O'Connor was given evidence of arrest, caution and charge by Detective Sergeant John Heaslip.

Det Sgt Heaslip told the court that after being cautioned and charged at Listowel garda station, Mr Ferris made no reply to arresting gardaí.

Judge O'Connor was told that the State was applying for a remand in custody.

Flowers at the scene where Mr O’Mahony lost his life in Rattoo, Ballyduff, Co Kerry Photo: Mark Condren
Flowers at the scene where Mr O’Mahony lost his life in Rattoo, Ballyduff, Co Kerry Photo: Mark Condren

The issue of bail did not arise, as bail in murder cases can only be dealt with by the High Court.

Judge O'Connor remanded Mr Ferris in custody to appear again before Tralee District Court on Wednesday, April 12.

Mr Ferris, who appeared in court wearing a grey suit and blue shirt, did not speak during the brief hearing.

However, he fought back tears as he left the courtroom after the three-minute hearing.

He was represented by solicitor Risteard Pierse from Listowel.

Mr Pierse said his client would be making a bail application before the High Court in the immediate future. He said his client understood that he would be remanded in custody at the present time.

Mr Pierse asked Judge O'Connor to make a recommendation that his client receive "all and appropriate" medical attention while in custody.

Rattoo Round Tower. Photo: Mark Condren
Rattoo Round Tower. Photo: Mark Condren

The solicitor said this was due to concerns over Mr Ferris's "mental state".

However, he told the court he did not want to go into further details at this point.

Mr Pierse confirmed he had met with the GP who deals with Mr Ferris.

Mr O'Mahony died from multiple trauma injuries after his vehicle was in collision with a heavy teleporter agri-machine.

The incident occurred directly outside his Rattoo holding shortly before 9am on Tuesday.

He was pronounced dead at the scene at Rattoo before he could be rushed to Tralee hospital.

Listowel gardaí launched a murder investigation within two hours of the incident.

Mr O'Mahony farmed a 25-acre holding directly across the road from Mr Ferris's home.

Both properties are within sight of the famous 10th Century Rattoo Round Tower, one of the iconic landmarks of north Kerry.

However, Mr O'Mahony lived around 3km away from Rattoo on the other side of Ballyduff village in Causeway.

Both men were known to each other for years.

Mr O'Mahony, who was described locally as "a genius" in the tillage farming sector, was unmarried and had no children.

However, he had a large extended family in the Ballyduff-Causeway area.

He had started out in farming through the production of tomatoes.

He then expanded into vegetable growing and his produce was of such quality it was exported to Covent Garden Market in London.

Over latter years, Mr O'Mahony had primarily grown corn at Rattoo.

Irish Independent

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