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Mummified body find 'left me in terror'

THE mummified body of a man who had been missing for more than four years was found in a derelict house by a scrap metal hunter, an inquest heard.

The body of John Byrne (42), a father-of-one from Ballygall Road West in Finglas, Dublin 11, was found crouched behind a chest of drawers at the house on the Royal Canal Bank in Phibsboro, Dublin 7, on July 23 last year.


He was reported missing in February 2009 after family members were unable to contact him.

A lottery ticket found in his pocket indicated that Mr Byrne died in or around Valentine's Day that year.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard from his son Darren Feehan that the last time he saw him was February 7, 2009.

They had a "regular conversation" and hugged when he left, he said.

Mr Feehan said it was not unusual not hear from his father for two to three days but never longer than that. The family reported him missing after becoming concerned when nobody had heard from him for a week.

The body was found by Gary Hand, who had gone into the derelict house scavenging for copper. In his deposition read out in court he told gardaĆ­ that two kids showed him the house and as he searched it he thought he saw a haversack behind a chest of drawers.


He "yanked" it out and discovered that it was a dead body collapsed forward.

"I saw the back of its skull as I lifted it upright. The two young fellas were terrified, as was I, and I left the derelict house immediately," he said.

The body was identified using dental records.

The postmortem was carried out by deputy State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, however, due to mummification a full autopsy was not possible and he was unable to establish a cause of death.