Wednesday 13 December 2017

'One of the nicest and most genuine people' - Tributes paid to father-of-three who was beaten, stripped and left to die

Conor Feehan, Alan O'Keeffe and Catherine Devine

The father-of-three killed in a street attack has been described as "one of the nicest and most genuine people anyone could meet".

The victim, who has been named locally as Dermot Byrne, was naked when he was found by a passer-by on a Dublin street in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Dermot Byrne
Dermot Byrne

The grim discovery was made on a set of steps at Fingal Community College, on North Street, in the north Dublin town of Swords at 3.05am.

Sources say that Mr Byrne, who lived in Swords, suffered multiple blunt force injuries to his head and body, which were consistent with a prolonged and sustained beating.

It was likely that the attack had happened elsewhere and that Mr Byrne was later dumped on the street. His injuries were so bad it is suspected that whoever carried out the attack may have believed he was dead when they dumped him.

The victim's body was naked when discovered by a passer-by.

General view of Gardai forensics at scene on North Street, Swords, Dublin. Pic: Caroline Quinn
General view of Gardai forensics at scene on North Street, Swords, Dublin. Pic: Caroline Quinn
General view of Gardai forensics at scene on North Street, Swords, Dublin. Photo: Caroline Quinn
General view of Gardai forensics at scene on North Street, Swords, Dublin. Pic: Caroline Quinn

The Irish Blackball Association, which organises tournaments and runs the sport, paid tribute the father-of-three.

"He was one of the nicest and most genuine people anyone could wish to meet. A true gentleman who never had a cross word with any soul.

"Dermot was known to all as a 'Gent'. He was easy going, and respectful of others.

"We are so proud to have had the opportunity of knowing Dermot, and the Honour of being in his company.

"On behalf of the entire membership of the Irish Blackball Association, we would like to offer our sincerest condolences to his loving wife, three beautiful daughters and extended family members at this time.

"We will miss you friend."

A Dublin Fire Brigade tender and HSE ambulance from Swords were dispatched to the scene, and teams of paramedics battled to save Mr Byrne's life.

The victim had a faint pulse when the emergency crews arrived, but died in the ambulance while being treated.

A 29-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening in the Dublin area in connection with the garda investigation. He was being detained at Swords garda station last night.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Mr Byrne's remains yesterday to determine the exact cause of death.

Gardaí have appealed for witnesses who may have been in or around the North Street area between 1.30am and 3am yesterday, or to anyone who may have driven around the area and have 'dash cam' footage from their vehicle, to come forward to help the investigation.

Local CCTV footage from commercial premises will also be examined and may prove vital in determining the sequence of events leading up to the discovery of Mr Byrne.

Yesterday, gardaí operated traffic diversions and roads were cordoned off with crime-scene tape to allow a forensic examination of the scene.

Local people expressed their shock at the violent death.

Mum-of-four Bridget Carr (55) said: "It is so sad.

"Swords is a lovely place to live, but it's awful how something like this can happen to someone on the streets of this town."

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