Monday 19 February 2018

Mother and son held in house-fire murder probe

James Cahillane
James Cahillane
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

A MOTHER and son were still being questioned last night by gardai investigating the murder of a father of two more than a year ago.

The body of 58-year-old James Cahillane was discovered inside the front door of his burning house in Ardraw, Beaufort, Co Kerry, on April 19 last year.

Mr Cahillane was initially thought to have died in the fire, but a post-mortem examination revealed he had suffered injuries consistent with an assault and the investigation was upgraded to a murder inquiry four days later.

The 27-year-old man and the woman, understood to be his mother and in her early 50s, are the first people to be arrested in relation to the killing, although gardai carried out over 400 interviews.

The man is being detained at Killarney garda station.

The woman is being held at Tralee garda station.

Mr Cahillane, who was an electrician and worked at Killorglin-based financial-services company Fexco for more than 20 years, was last seen in Killorglin on April 18 last year.

His children, Gary and Lisa, have repeatedly made public appeals for information, most recently at the time of the first anniversary of his death in April.

Their father had left work at 5.15pm on April 18 and walked to Clifford's Tavern on Bridge Street where he stayed for a short while before going to Sheahan's Bar on Main Street.

CCTV footage captured him withdrawing money from an ATM at Champ's Eurospar at around 7.30pm.

At around 8.50pm, he did his grocery shopping at the Eurospar, before returning to Clifford's.

Later that night, at around 11.45pm, a local taxi driver collected Mr Cahillane and drove him the three miles to his home in Beaufort.

Gardai believe Mr Cahillane was attacked in his home some time in the following two hours and that the fire started at around 2am.


Gary Cahillane described his father as a "loving, caring and generous" man who always put his children and friends first.

"Confrontation wasn't part of him and he really was the least aggressive guy that I've ever met and someone, instead of robbing him, they probably could have asked him for money, he would have given it to them, you know."

He said the family had found a small bit of comfort when they thought the fire had started by accident.

This was dashed when the inquiry was upgraded to a murder investigation.

Irish Independent

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