Gardai know killer of pub boss kicked to death at home

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

GARDAI believe they now know who kicked a well-known publican to death in his own home.

Detectives probing the brutal murder of 64-year-old Matt Farrell in Daingean, Co Offaly sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last week. Senior gardai are satisfied they have identified the man responsible for Mr Farrell's death in April 2009.

A total of nine people -- including two women -- were arrested during the extensive 16-month long investigation, which involved up to 100 officers. Supt Pat Murray, who led the murder probe, confirmed that gardai are now awaiting a decision from the DPP on whether to prosecute.

Mr Farrell was tied to a chair before being murdered in what gardai believe was a botched robbery at the Gaelic Bar on the town's Molesworth Street on April 1, 2009.

Officers probing the killing identified a series of key events that led to Mr Farrell's murder including a spate of aggravated robberies carried out by a criminal gang across five counties in the midlands.

Gardai were alerted to the extent of the gang's involvement in the case by members of the public. Details of the role of these criminals are included in the evidence presented to the DPP's office. But it's understood that the suspect acted alone in the murder.

Deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis concluded that Matt Farrell, who lived with his son, Matt Jnr, in the Gaelic Bar, died from blunt force trauma to the head. A "significant lodgment" was made to Mr Farrell's bank account in the days before his murder and less than €300 remained in the pub when he was kicked to death.

Matt Farrell was well respected locally and known as a generous man who donated to charity events in the area and helped to organise community activities.

Matt Jnr discovered his father's bloodied body on the ground with his hands tied behind his back. The killer had kicked him several times in the head and body.

The publican had spent over 30 years as the owner of the Gaelic Bar but retired two years before his death and handed the workings of his pub to his children. He spent the evening before his murder socialising in the pub with locals.

He was last seen on the morning of April 1 by a barmaid who worked in the Gaelic bar. Later that morning, Matt Jnr found his father's body in the kitchen.