Tuesday 21 November 2017

Two held as man beaten to death at truck stop

A garda at the scene in Fermoy where the body of a man in his 30s, was discovered at truck stop. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
A garda at the scene in Fermoy where the body of a man in his 30s, was discovered at truck stop. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A Slovakian father-of-two died after being struck over the head with an iron bar after it is thought a dispute over cigarettes and alcohol escalated out of control.

Two men, both Polish nationals, were being questioned by gardaí last night over the circumstances in which the deceased, named locally as Ludovit Pastor (40), suffered fatal injuries.

Mr Pastor was found unconscious near an articulated lorry at a popular truck stop off the Pike Road in Fermoy, Co Cork, near the Dublin-Cork motorway. He was discovered shortly after 10.30pm on Tuesday.

A friend of Mr Pastor was found nearby with multiple non-life threatening injuries.

The grim discovery was made by nearby garage staff who were alerted by drivers parked overnight complaining of hearing shouting.

Despite desperate efforts to revive Mr Pastor, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Pastor, a Slovakian national who was born in Hungary, had sustained serious head injuries. Detectives later found an iron bar, which they suspect may have been the weapon used, near a parked truck.

Mr Pastor's friend was treated at the scene by paramedics and told gardaí the duo were attacked by other men after a dispute erupted.

Three of the four men involved were Polish nationals.

One theory being examined by detectives is that a dispute over the cost of cigarettes and alcohol between the truck drivers and the other men escalated.

The injured man was taken to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for treatment and remains in a stable condition.

Fermoy gardaí cordoned off the scene pending a full forensic and technical examination.

More than a dozen trucks had to stay parked within the cordoned-off area throughout the day.

One driver, who asked to remain unnamed, said he was told by another trucker that the first inkling of the tragedy was when shouts were heard around 10.30pm.

"One of the lads said they were trying to sleep in their cab when they heard noises from the truck parking area," he said.

"The noise got louder and he said it sounded like people shouting at each other. He didn't get out of his cab for safety reasons.

"I think one of the other truckers rang the garage staff to say something was wrong."

Another trucker said the first he heard of the tragedy was when gardaí arrived.

"A garda came knocking on the lorry door at around 11.30pm and asking if I'd seen or heard anything.

"That was the first I knew of it," the man said.

A garage manager came out to see what was happening and immediately spotted Mr Pastor lying motionless on the ground.

Gardaí and paramedics were at the scene within minutes.

Door-to-door inquiries were conducted by gardaí throughout the day, with several large housing estates located within 100 metres of the area.

It is understood that CCTV security camera footage will play a key role in the investigation.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster examined the body at the scene before Mr Pastor's remains were removed to CUH for a full post-mortem examination.

Two men, in their early 40s and late 20s, were arrested by gardaí under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 and taken to Fermoy and Mallow garda stations for questioning.

They are Polish nationals working as truck drivers for a Cork-based firm.

A file will be prepared for the DPP.

Mr Pastor, based in Cork for several years, has two children, aged 15 and 11, who are enrolled in Fermoy schools.

Irish Independent

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