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Michael McCoy murder: 'Someone knows why my father isn't with us - justice will come'

McCoy’s body was found in the Dublin mountains, where he had taken his two dogs for a walk, in 2016.

Michael McCoy with his wife Caitríona and his three daughters.
Michael McCoy with his wife Caitríona and his three daughters.
Image: Rachel McCoy

ON THE MORNING OF 29 September 2016, father-of-three Michael McCoy left his home with his two dogs, Sophie and Fia, for a walk in Blackhill Forest in the Dublin mountains.

It was just a 10-minute drive from his home in Ballinascorney Upper in Brittas, Co Dublin, and he regularly ventured there with the family pets. 

On returning from work that evening, family members noticed the post had not been brought in and the hens had never been let out. They began to worry. 

Michael’s wife Caitríona and their daughter Suzanne went looking for Michael and noticed his car parked in the usual spot near the woods, but they could not find him.

A short time later, gardaí called in the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue team to assist in a search of the woods and the 64-year-old’s body was found on the morning of 30 September. One of the family’s boxer dogs, Sophie, was found beside her owner.

Mountain rescue volunteer Brendan Beirne told the inquest into the man’s death that the dog was “in a distressed state”. The body of their other dog Fia was found in the area three days later.

Initially the man’s injuries were believed to have been the result of a fall, but closer inspection prompted a full forensic post-mortem.

Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan found he had sustained complex fractures of the skull and facial bones, a fractured skull and numerous irregular cuts and grazes.

She determined that his cause of death was blunt force trauma to the face and head and said the injuries were consistent with blows from a solid object. 

A man was arrested and questioned by gardaí in connection with Michael McCoy’s murder, and Detective Inspector John Walshe told the inquest in May this year that a file had been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecution. However there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. 

The 64-year-old was a builder by trade and an environmentalist who was involved in several conservation campaigns. He was a founder of the Dublin Mountain Conservation Group and it was in this capacity that he objected to a number of local planning applications.

One line of inquiry pursued by investigators on his case was that his murder may have been linked to his environmental work. 

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Michael’s eldest daughter Rachel paid tribute to her father yesterday, describing the moment three years ago when she was told his body had been found as “unbearable”. 

“Three years of heartbreak and there is still no breakthrough. We know that someone is out there who knows what happened. Knows why my father is not with us. Knows how he died,” she said.

“Our entire world has changed and we miss him every day. For those people who do know what happened – justice will come.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Tallaght Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

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