Park victim was still alive when he was set on fire
A man found murdered in the Phoenix Park in Dublin was still alive when he was set on fire in his sleeping bag.
Gardai disclosed last night that the victim was beaten severely in the face with a blunt weapon and sustained major injuries to his head.
But he was still breathing when an accelerant, such as paraffin, was poured on to the sleeping bag and it was set ablaze.
The dead man has not yet been positively identified.
But investigating officers think he may have been from south Co Dublin and are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry to determine his address. Identification will depend on either DNA tests or dental records.
Gardai arrested a 27-year-old suspect in the Camden Street area of the south city yesterday on suspicion of murder.
He is originally from the Shankill area of south Co Dublin. He was taken to Finglas station where he was being held for questioning last night. He can be detained without charge for up to 24 hours.
A second man was arrested this morning.
The 20 year old man is currently detained at Finglas Garda Station under the provisions of Section 4, Criminal Justice Act 1984.
A firm motive for the savage murder has not yet been established but gardai think the killer may have believed that the victim had money with him.
The attack took place near the Wellington monument in the early hours of Friday in a wooded area used by homeless people and others to sleep.
Gardai believe that the victim was not homeless but opted on occasions to sleep rough and may have been sleeping in the park for up to three months.
Officers think the man owned a house and had access to money.
A post-mortem examination by the State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy confirmed the assault and also showed that the victim did not appear to be somebody who was a typical member of the homeless community.
Sources say the victim – who was in his mid-30s – had previously lived at addresses in Finglas, Lucan and Tallaght.
A small heater was found near the body, which was discovered by a garda patrol who had spotted the fire and went to the area to investigate around 1am. Fire brigade personnel were alerted and efforts were made to rescue the man from the blazing bag. But he died at the scene.
Gardai say they are satisfied that the assault took place where the bag was set on fire and have carried out searches to locate the weapon used in the initial assault.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, said yesterday he had been horrified by the murder.
In his homily to a congregation at the Church of St Andrew in Westland Row, Dr Martin said: "Like you, I am horrified by the news of someone being burnt alive in the Phoenix Park.
"In our own city, how often do we read about knives being raised in violence and guns in vengeance, and lives – young lives – being ruined?"
Dr Martin said the Christian of every generation was called particularly to be awake and attentive to where society was slipping into wrong ways.