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Friday 15 December 2017

Families unite to mourn murder victims

Ralph Riegel

THE families of two men whose bodies were recovered from a river have met in a bid to comfort each other.

The special meeting between the Duke and Forrester families in Bandon, Co Cork, came as garda sources indicated they expect imminent developments in the Forrester murder probe.

John Forrester (42) -- a native of Blackpool in Lancashire in England -- was recovered from the River Bandon 1km downstream from the town on November 15.

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

He died from multiple stab injuries to his head and neck.

Gardai had great difficulty in tracing Mr Forrester's family in the UK, given he had lived a transient lifestyle for almost two decades.

However, his family was traced in both Blackpool and Lincoln and his sister, niece and nephew visited Bandon over the past few days.

Mr Forrester's aunt, Joyce, speaking from the UK, said he had been a loner for most of his adult life. "The last I knew he was working in Spain as a ski instructor," she said.

His relatives have no idea why he decided to relocate to Ireland.


The Forrester family laid a wreath at the spot where his body was recovered then had a meeting with Michelle Duke whose son, Jonathan (27), was recovered from the same river just 36 hours before Mr Forrester.

Two people are now before the courts charged with Mr Duke's murder.

Both Mr Duke and Mr Forrester lived in the same building -- Bridge House -- in Bandon, which directly overlooks the river.

The meeting between the two families -- which took place just before the Forresters flew back to England -- was described as "very emotional and deeply moving" and lasted for over three hours.

The meeting is understood to have taken place at the request of the Duke family and was facilitated by Bandon gardai.

"They were simply two families trying to ease each other's pain," one garda source said.

Mr Forrester was nicknamed 'Johnny English' and 'Rambler' in Bandon and suffered from a serious alcohol problem.

He had four children but hadn't seen them for some time.

His funeral service will be held in Bandon within the next six weeks but it remains unclear whether he will be buried in Ireland or in the UK.

Irish Independent

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