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File photo
Lord Edward Street

Limerick murder victim's injuries 'may well have been caused by a punch'

The man, aged in his 50s, is a close relative of convicted criminal Jason Freyne.

Updated 6.26pm

A MAN WHO died after being found seriously injured by a member of the public lying on a footpath in Limerick city was punched in the head during a violent assault, gardaí believe.

Gerard Freyne, a 53-year old father from the Treaty City, died in the Intensive Care Unit at Cork University Hospital around 5.30am today, two days after he was assaulted.

Twenty gardaí are working on the investigation and national garda units are providing support to local officers.

Inspector Ronan McDonagh, who is leading the probe, said gardaí do not believe a weapon was used, however they believe Freyne, who was living in sheltered accommodation, was assaulted prior to his death.

The attack took place on Lord Edward Street, Limerick, around 7.45pm, last Wednesday, McDonagh said.

The results of a post mortem carried out on the victim will determine whether or not gardai will upgrade the investigation to one of murder.

Inspector McDonagh said his injuries “may well have been caused by a punch”.

I’m aware that he fell backwards and hit his head on the pavement and there’s an injury consistent with that, that we believe may have led to the death of Mr Freyne.

The senior garda said a number of witnesses have said they saw a man in his 20s or 30s leaving the scene around the time of the assault.

No motive

Earlier today a post mortem was carried out on the body by deputy state pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster. Gardai are meeting this evening to discuss the findings of the autopsy before deciding how the investigation progresses.

“We don’t have a motive at this stage but we’re keeping an open mind as to what may have been the cause of the dispute which led to the ultimate demise of Mr Freyne,” McDonagh said.

My hope is that when this investigation is finished that there will be arrests made and hopefully the perpetrators brought to justice. I’m appealing to the city of Limerick to get us to that conclusion by coming forward.

He said gardaí were trawling through CCTV footage from several locations to trace the movements of a man seen leaving the scene around the time of the assault.

Freyne was discovered by a passer by who contacted ambulance control who then alerted gardaí.

Jason Freyne, a son of the deceased, was jailed earlier this year for five-and-a-half years after he shot and injured a man in May 2015.

Freyne, (24), of no fixed abode, was wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a sawn-off shotgun and roaming Limerick on his bicycle, intent on shooting people, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

While appearing on other charges at Ennis District Court escaped from custody and went on the run for six days. He publicly taunting gardai via his Facebook page but later appeared at the front gates of Limerick Prison effectively returning himself to custody.

Read: Woman dies after car collides with tractor in Mayo

Read: Gardaí investigating potential child abduction attempt in Westmeath

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