GARDAI have launched a murder investigation into the death of a 46-year-old man in Clonmel, Co Tipperary whose body was found in the stairwell of an apartment block.
Anthony Fallon had been hit on the head several times with a weapon.
Following a post mortem examination by State Pathologist Marie Cassidy last night, gardaí upgraded their investigation from one of suspicious death to murder.
The victim, who had been beaten a number of times on the head with a heavy implement, was found dead in the apartment complex on New Quay in Clonmel town centre at around 6.45am yesterday.
One line of inquiry is that Mr Fallon was assaulted in his flat on Abbey Street before his body was moved to the stairwell of the New Quay apartments to make it appear accidental.
The Irish Independent also understands Mr Fallon had been injured in a separate attack three weeks ago.
Friends of the separated father, who was nicknamed 'Elvis' because of the way his hair was always slicked back, said he had been left bruised and shaken by this incident.
His grief-stricken widow, Elma Molloy, described how she remained on good terms with her husband, stating that they were "still friends".
Speaking from the family home on Mountain Road, on the outskirts of Clonmel, she said Mr Fallon was a "gentleman".
"We are waiting to hear what happened from the guards. I'm very upset," she added.
She explained how Mr Fallon's mother had died in July. Friends said his mother's death had deeply affected him and he had been drinking heavily.
The couple's sons, Jason and David, were last night being comforted by friends and relatives.
Detectives combed Clonmel town centre yesterday and searched through bins on the quay near the apartment complex where Mr Fallon's body was found.
It's understood no weapon has been recovered as yet. However, gardai were working on the belief that he was struck with a heavy implement.
House-to-house inquiries were also conducted and gardai collected CCTV footage from premises nearby.
Friends described Mr Fallon as a "shy" and "kind-hearted" man before expressing "shock" at his killing.
Residents of the apartments where the body was discovered had to be lifted through the windows of their homes by the fire brigade to avoid trampling the crime scene as they left for work yesterday morning.
They also expressed alarm at waking up yesterday morning so close to where Mr Fallon's body was found.
"We were told there was a body in the lobby," said one mother who did not wish to be named.
"I was just shocked since I found out. I didn't want the child to see what was going on," she added.
Members of a garda technical team conducted a forensic examination of the scene at New Quay throughout yesterday, while a second crime scene was established on nearby Abbey Street in Clonmel where Mr Fallon lived in his first-floor apartment.
Ms Molloy said Mr Fallon had been living at this address for the past six months.
The victim's remains were removed from the apartment complex at 4pm yesterday before they were taken to Limerick Regional Hospital for a full post-mortem.
Gardai are appealing for witnesses to contact them in Clonmel on 052-6177640 or by ringing the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.