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Details on key items give more clues in hunt for priest's killer

Gardai have received new information about the disappearance of valuable items belonging to murdered priest Fr Niall Molloy after his death, which included a horse and several paintings.

New details have also come to light about an anxious visit he paid to his solicitor in the days leading up his killing.

These two strands of information emerged as detectives continued their trawl of fresh evidence in the murder.

The details add to a growing file of information gathered by the Irish Independent as part of our two-year-probe into the priest's death.

Fr Niall Molloy was beaten to death in the Offaly home of his friends Richard and Teresa Flynn the evening after their eldest daughter's wedding in July 1985.

The post-mortem found the 52-year-old cleric died as a result of severe head injuries. Two neuropathologists who examined his brain found that he died up to six hours after the initial attack and that his life could have been saved if he had been brought to hospital.

As a result of our probe, 10 senior detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation were dispatched to Tullamore this week where they are questioning people who were never interviewed by gardai before. Some of these people, whose names were given to the gardai by the Irish Independent, have provided vital new evidence about the priest's final hours and what happened between the time he was first attacked and his time of death.

In the past 24 hours, more individuals have come forward to this newspaper and the gardai who wish to help officers with their enquiries.

Last night, the Molloy family appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

"We are deeply heartened by the fact that so many people are helping the gardai now and providing vital details about the circumstances of our uncle Niall's death and what happened in the hours leading up to it," said the priest's nephew Henry McCourt, a Cork-based solicitor.

"We know there are still individuals out there who know the real identity of Niall's killer.

"We are asking them now to break their silence for once and for all."

Irish Independent