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The local garda -- and the riddle of the watch

Local sergeant Kevin Forde was the first garda in Kilcoursey House on the night Fr Molloy died.

This week, in an interview with the Irish Independent, the now-retired garda says one of the first things he noticed on Fr Molloy's body was his broken watch -- stopped at 10.40.

He was taken aback because it suggested to him that almost five hours had passed before Gardai were called to the Flynn mansion -- and that Fr Molloy may have lay dying over a long period of time.

"The watch was one of the first things I noticed. It was on his wrist.

"The face of it was broken, cracked. It was stopped at 10.40.

"This was included in my statement, but even to this day, it is clear in my mind. I know it from memory. To me, it was very, very crucial evidence because it suggested a lot could have happened in the house during those hours before I was called to the scene.

"Yet a short while later, I was instructed to hand back the watch along with some other items to Fr Molloy's brother Billy, which I did.

"Nothing more was done about it."

However, during the inquest, two of his colleagues stated that they recalled State Pathologist Dr John Harbison saying that the watch was in working order at the post- mortem. Dr Harbison had given evidence that he had no recollection of such a conversation.

It is clear that even at this stage there is a serious conflict of evidence about this important factual issue.

The Irish Independent has asked the Garda Siochana if samples of blood and fingerprints were taken from all of the people who were in Kilcoursey House on the day of Fr Molloy's death, as that might have helped them in their investigation. We are still waiting for a reply.

"There was a significant amount of blood on the banisters," recalls Garda Forde, who had no further involvement in the case, apart from his initial inspection of the scene that night.

"It could have suggested that the priest was first beaten downstairs and the blood came from the body being carried up the stairs or the hands of someone else.

"There was blood in the wash hand-basin as well.

"Both of these pieces of evidence were important but we never learned who the blood belonged to."

Irish Independent