| 11.2°C Dublin

Family of homeless chef beaten to death in Cork plead for anyone with information to come forward

  • Family of homeless chef beaten to death in Cork plead with anyone having information about the killing to contact Gardaí
  • Family request for their privacy to be respected
  • Detectives investigating if Bantry-born chef may have known his attacker

Close

Tragedy: Timothy Hourihane, who ended up on the streets after a battle with alcohol addiction, had told of previous attacks he had suffered

Tragedy: Timothy Hourihane, who ended up on the streets after a battle with alcohol addiction, had told of previous attacks he had suffered

Tragedy: Timothy Hourihane, who ended up on the streets after a battle with alcohol addiction, had told of previous attacks he had suffered

THE family of a homeless chef beaten to death in Cork have pleaded with anyone having information about the killing to contact Gardaí.

The plea came as the family of Timothy 'Timmy' Hourihane (53) asked for privacy.

In a statement issued via gardaí, the family said they are "naturally devastated" by Sunday's killing.

"(They) are asking that their privacy be respected and they be given space to grieve at this sad time," a spokesperson said.

"They ask that the media would not seek to contact them in person or at their homes and the funeral arrangements are treated as strictly private. Please give them time and space in this most difficult of times."

"The family would also ask that people would give any assistance that they can to An Garda Síochána to help bring some closure to the matter."

Anyone with information about the circumstances in which Mr Hourihane suffered the horrific beating is asked to contact gardaí.

One theory now being examined by detectives is that the Bantry-born chef may have known his attacker.

Mr Hourihane had previously spoken of his fear of violent assault when describing life for the homeless in Ireland.

Two years ago, Mr Hourihane said he had to be hospitalised after one brutal attack while he was sleeping rough - and revealed he had been repeatedly robbed while sleeping rough.

The chef was found in a critical condition at Mardyke Walk around 1am on Sunday when gardaí and Cork Fire Brigade were called to the scene.

A number of homeless people live in make-shift accommodation in the area which has been dubbed 'Tent City'.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

One tent was spotted on fire - and Cork Fire Brigade were alerted.

When they extinguished the blaze, they spotted Mr Hourihane lying unconscious a short distance away.

He had suffered a brutal beating including having his head kicked and stamped on.

Mr Hourihane was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH) but was pronounced dead shortly after admission.

His death - which represented the second violent assault on a homeless person in Cork in recent weeks - sparked warnings from social justice campaigners that not enough is being done to help the vulnerable in Ireland.

Sympathies over Mr Hourihane's violent death were also expressed by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor John Sheehan, and the Bishop of Cork & Ross, Dr Fintan Gavin.

Garda Superintendent Michael Comyns confirmed a murder inquiry is underway and appealed for public help.

"We are appealing to those who were in Mardyke Walk area between last night and 1am on Sunday morning who may have witnessed any activity in the area to come forward," he said.

"We are also appealing to motorists who may have passed through Mardyke Walk around these times to make dash-cam footage available to us.

"There are a number of guest houses in the area with visitors to the city staying last night and we would ask that if anybody seen or heard anything, no matter how insignificant they think it is, to contact us.

"We are currently treating this as a homicide investigation."

Detectives indicated that CCTV security camera footage is set to play a key role in the investigation.

Gardaí said it is also possible that Mr Hourihane may have known his attacker or attackers.

Two years ago, the chef admitted the threats homeless people faced on Irish streets.

"Wandering around, basically around the whole city, trying to find where can I sleep tonight, is it going to be safe? In Cork, in most places in Cork it's not safe in the city centre."

"I've been attacked three times and ended up in hospital because of those attacks.

"One person stamped on my hands and I ended up with fractures on my hand plus fractures down my right side. The actual rib went into my lung.

"I didn't have a cent in my pocket, and they probably thought I had something on me.

"I feel cold and not safe. It is really cold. We are a city on stone basically. We might have a duvet or a few blankets. You wake up at four and you are hypothermic and shaking with the cold."

Mr Hourihane had worked as a chef in some of the top UK hotels and restaurants, even helping cater for stars such as Elton John and Lionel Ritchie.

However, his life unravelled because of alcohol addiction.

"I’m a chef. I was in the UK and I worked in the Hilton, and I actually completed my Leaving Cert, and I’ve tried and tried to get jobs here, putting CVs in, everything and no response back," he said.

"My drinking was very, very high at one stage, That’s why I had to go to treatment as well."

"When you're back on the street, and you can't go anywhere again, that monkey on my shoulder said go back to alcohol again. Unfortunately, that’s what happened."

He said that many homeless people like "a zero" because he are living on the streets.

"I'm going to fight for myself, and I'd love to fight for all the people that are homeless as well. We need to stand up for ourselves at last. They look at you like you're a zero. They say, 'Oh he's homeless again,' or, 'this guys homeless, we've seen ten of those before'. They just walk past you like you're not there."


Most Watched





Privacy