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Sunday 18 February 2018

Irish musical director knifed to death in Turkey attack

Irishman John Edward Donnelly (inset) found dead in suspicious circumstances in Turkey holiday resort
Irishman John Edward Donnelly (inset) found dead in suspicious circumstances in Turkey holiday resort
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

The Irish tourist stabbed to death in Turkey was the very well-known amateur musical director John Donnelly who had close associations with Wexford Light Opera and many other musical societies.

Mr Donnelly (64), a bachelor who lived most of his life in Dublin and worked for the Customs Service before retiring some years ago, was found dead from what Turkish people say was a single stab wound to his back at an apartment in the resort town of Bodrum.

Neighbours described Mr Donnelly as a quiet man who had arrived three weeks earlier to stay in the rented apartment at Ney Tevfik Street. He was staying on his own.

Police were studying CCTV images which, they said, showed two men leaving Mr Donnelly's apartment building during the night. The alarm was raised by neighbours who found a bloodied knife lying outside the building.

In a statement, Turkish police said Mr Donnelly was lying naked on the floor of his apartment when found on Friday morning. He had a single stab wound, they added.

Mr Donnelly was a long-time and prominent member of the Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) and its president, Mr Colm Moules, yesterday paid tribute, saying he was "a lovely, lovely man".

Mr Moules said: "John was really admired and loved for his work, particularly with Wexford Light Opera, and many other societies that he helped. People who worked with John said they would often not see eye to eye, but they would all admit that his eye for creativity and direction was superb, and he always brought something extra to productions."

Mr Moules added: "He was great at encouraging people and everyone agrees that he had that ability to see the bigger picture and lift people's work.

"He had great relationships with people all round the country. He had a great sharp wit as well. It's fair to say he will be missed by friends from the four corners of Ireland.

"He was held in high esteem, particularly for his work with Wexford Light Opera. He had a fantastic way of working and he was always encouraging young people."

Friends in Dublin said Mr Donnelly had been in a relationship for a number of years but in recent times had been on his own. He retired from his Customs job several years ago.

The police in Bodrum were quoted as saying they hope to make arrests and are expected to issue images from the CCTV outside the apartment building which shows two men leaving the night Mr Donnelly was stabbed.

There was no indication of any Islamist involvement. The police also said Mr Donnelly's apartment had been ransacked and robbery was a possible motive.

Sunday Independent

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