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Cold Case

The unsolved case of Felix McCann: Savagely beaten to death in a south Dublin shed

What happens when nobody advocates for the victim?


Getting Away With Murder: Ireland’s Unsolved Homicides will tell the story of this country’s unknown killers and forgotten victims. In this six-part series, will revisit a number of cold cases, speak to the detectives tasked with solving these murders and hear from the families left behind with no justice – but lots of questions. Here, we look at the coldest of cases – where there is no family advocating for the victim. 

ON 21 JANUARY 1998, Felix McCann got into a taxi in Sallynoggin village at about 11pm.

He was accompanied by another man who left the cab in Dun Laoghaire. McCann continued on in the direction of Sandyford.

He was last seen with a third man – later described as being 5’8″ in height with untidy hair and wearing a black anorak which was too big for him – at the junction of Sandyford and Leopardstown roads.

The 48-year-old’s body was found in a disused shed in Sandyford, Co Dublin a day later.

McCann is believed to have been sleeping rough at the time. Sources have said he had mental health difficulties and spent some time in the Central Mental Hospital.

Gardaí believe he was murdered at 2.15am on Friday morning. He had been badly beaten in the shed that was often used as a shelter by homeless men.

Beaten with a blunt instrument

The cause of death was a laceration to his brain caused by a blunt instrument, but he also had a number of fractures to his skull. He was found with his trousers and underwear around his ankles and a sexual motive was considered in the early stages of the investigation.

There were also rumours that it may have been a retribution killing due to a feud at the time between families in Ireland and the UK.

And gardaí also considered that he may have been attacked and robbed of what little money he had on him at the time.

In the days after his death, there was a specific appeal for two foreign women who got a taxi at Chatham Street to Sandyford at 1.15am. One of them was dropped at the Sandyford crossroad and walked along Kilglobbin Road, where McCann was murdered.

No new leads

A number of people were arrested at the time, but no one has ever been charged in relation to the killing.

In August 1998, a reward was offered through the newly established Irish Crime Stoppers Trust.

Very little has been written about Felix McCann’s murder.

It is rarely talked about – and his name is not well known in the same way as other victims in Ireland are.

There are no pictures.

In our investigation into his case, was unable to track down a family member to speak to or find anyone in homeless organisations who remembered him, though it is believed he was sleeping rough around the time of his violent death.

Unlike some of the more high profile unsolved cases in Ireland, there were no campaigns for justice or public appeals on the anniversaries of his killing.

The case remains open, but sources say there have been no new leads since the early stages of the investigation.


‘Murderers still on our streets’: How does a homicide case go cold?

Dessie Fox: The violent killing of an ‘incredible family man’ 

Jim Mulqueen: A ‘lovely, educated’ man murdered in his own home at 92

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