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Saturday 21 April 2018

Mystery remains over death of homeless man whose body parts were found in recycling plant

Mark Burke, 37, from Dun Laoghaire. His remains were found in a recycling plant in July
Mark Burke, 37, from Dun Laoghaire. His remains were found in a recycling plant in July

Louise Roseingrave

GARDAI are treating the death of a homeless man whose body parts were found in a recycling plant as an unexplained death.

The remains of Mark Burke (36), of Moreen Park, Sandyford, were discovered at Thornton's Recycling Plant in Ballyfermot on July 31 last year.

Family members at an inquest into Mr Burke's death asked whether gardai were treating it as murder. His father, Noel Burke, asked why the inquest had been adjourned on numerous occasions.

Det Insp Colm O'Malley, of Clonalkin Garda Station, confirmed the death was being treated as unexplained and investigations are continuing.

He applied to the Coroner's Court for a date for a full hearing of the inquest into Mr Burke's death.

"We are in a position to seek a date for hearing," he told the coroner.

No cause of death has been established for Mr Burke, a father-of-seven who is believed to have been sleeping rough for a number of months before his death. His last known address was Bentley House, a homeless shelter in Dun Laoghaire.

He was identified by DNA comparison using a sample taken from his mother, Bernadette Murphy.


Identification was confirmed by Dr Hillary Clarke, a forensic scientist with the Garda Technical Bureau.

Her report submitted to the court indicated a "high correl- ation" between the DNA retrieved from the body parts and Ms Murphy's sample.

A post-mortem examination was carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis on August 1 and 5 last year. In his preliminary report, Dr Curtis gave the cause of death as "undetermined at the present time".

Setting a date for the full hearing of the inquest, coroner Dr Brian Farrell told the family members present at Dublin Coroner's Court that the reason for consecutive adjournments of the inquest was to allow for continued investigation.

"Could it have been a homicide? We don't know. We can go ahead with the inquest and the garda file will remain open. We will be hearing the circumstances as we know them and any further information can go to gardai," Dr Farrell said.

Det Insp O'Malley said the "circumstances of where and how the remains were discovered" were still under investigation.

Dr Farrell adjourned the inquest to next April 6.

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