Thursday 14 November 2019

Father-of-two (66) charged with murder of agricultural contractor Derry Coakley

Derry Coakley, an agricultural contractor, who died after a shooting at a farm near Macroom. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Derry Coakley, an agricultural contractor, who died after a shooting at a farm near Macroom. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Ralph Riegel

A 66-year-old man has been charged with the murder of an agricultural contractor who suffered fatal gunshot injuries as he worked at a Cork property.

Gerard Lynch (66) was charged with the murder of father of one Derry Coakley (58) before a special sitting of Bandon District Court.

Mr Lynch is charged with the murder of the agricultural contractor and father of one at Raleigh North, Macroom, Co Cork shortly after 11pm on Tuesday last, October 23.

The area involved is located some 4km outside the Cork town.

Judge James McNulty was told Mr Lynch, a father of two from Curraheen, Raleigh North, Macroom was formally charged with the murder of Mr Coakley by Det Garda Derek Mulcahy.

After being arrested and cautioned, Mr Lynch replied "No comment" when the charge was formally put to him.

As a murder charge is involved, any bail application can only be dealt with before the High Court.

Inspector Brian Murphy applied for Mr Lynch to be remanded in custody to next week's sitting of Bandon District Court.

Judge McNulty remanded Mr Lynch, a retired cabinet maker, in custody to appear again before the District Court on November 2.

Emmet Boyle BL, for the defendant, submitted a statement of means for Mr Lynch as he applied for free legal aid.

Mr Lynch appeared in court wearing blue denims and a grey top.

He did not speak during the brief hearing.

Mr Coakley, who lived with his elderly mother at Castle Street in Macroom, was working with a tractor when he suffered fatal injuries from a shotgun blast.

While badly injured, he was able to contact a friend and raise the alarm.

Mr Coakley left the scene on his tractor and was apparently trying to reach safety when he was apparently overcome by the scale of his injuries.

He was later found unresponsive by his friend who had raced to the area.

Despite desperate efforts by emergency services, Mr Coakley was pronounced dead at the scene before he could be transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

A post mortem examination was conducted on his remains at CUH by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster on Thursday.

The special Bandon District Court sitting was ordered after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) studied a preliminary Garda file on Mr Coakley's death.

The father of one will be buried after 12 noon Requiem Mass in Macroom at 12 noon on Sunday.

Mr Coakley was described as a well-known figure within the mid Cork community thanks to his contracting work with Cork Co Council.

Councillor Ted Lucey said Mr Coakley was known as one of the hardest working individuals in the area.

"Derry used to do some work for the council here, and his father before him, with diggers and tractors," he said.

"You couldn't meet a better man to do a job. The town of Macroom would have fallen down several times but for him."

"He would do everything from clearing snow in winter to digging streets and all sorts of maintenance."

Mr Coakley was teetotal and did not smoke.

His family are well respected in the town as they also run a popular local taxi business.

Gardaí had appealed for anyone with information to assist their inquiry.

"We are appealing for anyone who has any information or who was in the Raleigh North area of Macroom between 10.30pm and 12 midnight on Tuesday night, to contact Macroom garda station on 026-20590, the Garda Confidential line on 1800-666-111 or any Garda station," a Garda spokesperson said.

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