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Fatal-stabbing suspect moved to village from crime blackspot

A MAN being questioned last night by detectives probing the fatal stabbing of a father of two had relocated to a rural village from a notorious crime blackspot two years ago.

Sean Murphy (29) died after he was knifed once in the chest on Sunday night outside his home in the picturesque village of Lattin, about five miles west of Tipperary town and close to the Tipperary-Limerick border.

It is understood that the row which led to his death was the culmination of ongoing problems between the victim and a man living locally.

It is believed tensions started between the families and this led to problems. Gardai were recently called to the area on New Year's Eve to intervene in a related dispute.

The dead man's partner, Paula Hassett, along with their son and daughter, were yesterday being comforted by relatives in Lattin, while his parents, Sean Snr and Peggy Murphy, were consoled by family members and neighbours at their home in Tipperary.

Both families were too upset to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent. Sean was recently laid off from his job at a factory in Tipperary town.

A 41-year-old man was arrested at the scene at about 10.15pm. He had moved to Lattin about two years ago from Limerick city.

He was being questioned by gardai at Tipperary town garda station under section four of the Criminal Justice Act and his detention was extended yesterday to allow for further questioning until this morning.

Investigators confirmed they found "an implement", understood to be a kitchen knife, close to the scene of the stabbing, while a post mortem was carried out on Mr Murphy's body at Waterford Regional Hospital.

The post mortem showed Mr Murphy died as a result of a single stab wound to the chest.

The killing shocked locals in the quiet village, who gathered close to the crime scene to watch forensic experts carry out an examination of the area -- a small, recently built council development in the centre of Lattin.

One local man said he and his wife heard "a commotion" at about 9.40pm on Sunday, with shouting clearly audible.

He said the victim "seemed to have been a decent guy" and always wanted to do the right thing by his partner and children. "The kids are devastated," he said. "What do you even say to the kids?"


Publican Noirin Ahern, who runs a bar beside the housing development where the stabbing happened, said she knew the man under arrest from occasions when he would come in for a drink.

"I never had any problem with the guy," she said. "I never had any problem with any of the people. They never gave me any hassle."

She did not know Mr Murphy that well as he was rarely in the pub, she said.

One customer said: "It's something you'd never think of happening in Lattin."

Another said: "It could happen anywhere now. This is the world we're living in."

A friend of the victim's father and town councillor in Tipperary, Billy Bourke, said the Murphys were "a very quiet family and very respectable" and this was "a very sad time for them".

Irish Independent