Thursday 18 January 2018

River bodies: Second Cork murder investigation launched

Ralph Riegel and Barry Duggan

THE Garda investigation into the discovery of a second body in Cork's River Bandon has been upgraded to a murder investigation.

Gardaí have been meeting since early morning to discuss preliminary post mortem results, which suggest that Englishman John Forrester (42) died violently.

His body - bound at both hands and feet - was recovered from the West Cork river just 36 hours after the body of a young man was found 1km upstream.

Bandon gardai are today expected to launch a murder probe following the discovery of the body of John 'Johnny English' Forrister (43) after a major search operation.

The body of Mr Forrister -- from Blackpool, in Lancashire, in England -- was discovered at 11.30am yesterday 1km downstream of the west Cork town.

His feet and hands were bound and he had been partially wrapped in a rug.

It is believed that he died as a result of multiple injuries sustained in a serious assault.

The gruesome discovery came after an intensive garda search operation which included the Civil Defence and the Irish Coastguard's infra-red camera-equipped Sikorksy helicopter.

Mr Forrister had been missing for two days.

The discovery came just 36 hours after the body of Jonathan Duke (27) was recovered by gardai from underneath Bandon Bridge.

Mr Duke's body had snagged on wooden debris trapped under the bridge - and it was recovered within an hour of the alarm being raised.

A post-mortem examination revealed he met a violent death.


Mr Duke lived in a second floor flat at Bridge House while Mr Forrister had a ground floor apartment.

Garda technical experts yesterday conducted a major investigation at the ageing three- storey apartment complex.

Garda divers also conducted an intensive trawl of the river near the apartment complex throughout yesterday to determine if evidence -- including a possible weapon -- had been thrown into the water.

Last night, Mr Duke's mother, Michelle, declined to comment to the Irish Independent on the tragedy.

"We are all too upset -- it is not a good time. Jonathan's (nine-year-old) daughter is here with her grandmother and they are trying to comfort each other," a spokesman said at the family's Deerpark home.

The Duke family were also comforting his former partner, Michelle Duffy.

Jamie Lordan -- who was a friend of both men -- said it was an appalling tragedy that had shocked the entire town.

One friend of Mr Duke -- who called himself 'Cha' -- said the father of one had struggled to recover after a fall from a third-storey window two years ago while trying to fix a TV aerial.

"He was a lovely guy -- he was always there for you.

"But he was never the same after the accident and the injuries he suffered," he said.

Pastor Bryan Synnott of West Cork Community Church said Mr Forrister attended a service just last month.

"We knew John. He came in and out of the church. He dropped off in March and came into us six weeks ago.

"He was a very pleasant man - a gentleman," Pastor Synnott said.

"His life wasn't easy. He did have a drink problem -- that was very obvious to all of us. He was very artistic. He loved to draw and paint and loved to fix things.

"If he had a chance in life he could have been an engineer," he added.

The Blackpool native had been living in Bandon for almost three years, having spent some time previously in Cork city.

Eilish Daly -- another friend of Mr Forrister -- said he was a quiet man who largely kept to himself.

"Johnny English was his nickname and he was a nice fella -- he seemed to get on well with everyone.

"You'd meet him around the town a lot," she said.

Irish Independent

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