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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020
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Jim Mulqueen: A 'lovely, educated' man murdered in his own home at 92

The elderly man, who is fondly remembered by his community, was murdered during a suspected break-in.

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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, TheJournal.ie 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 remember the devastating death of an elderly man in his family home.

JIM MULQUEEN HAD worked hard his whole life.

He grew up in Kilcoleman, Co Limerick and attended the local school. As a young man, he laboured on farms before moving to England for construction work.

After his brother Thomas died in 1971, Jim, a bachelor now in his early 50s, returned to Ireland and moved into in the family home.

He worked until his retirement for the Office of Public Works.

In his later years, he enjoyed small pleasures like sitting in the sun on a bench in Newcastlewest to read his newspaper.

Twice a week he went to his favourite pub Ned Lynch’s for a drink and he would place a few bets on the horses.

“He wasn’t a heavy gambler, he’d always say: ‘It’s good for a hobby, but you’re not going to make money out of it.’ Jim was a small punter, if he’d win, he wouldn’t get excited about it,” pub owner Ed Lynch recalled, speaking about his friend of more than 30 years.

“He’d only have a few social drinks. He might start off with a small whiskey and he’d have a few Guinnesses, then after that and occasionally he would buy a bottle of whiskey and take it home with him and have a drink at home.”

The 92-year-old man lived alone in a small rural cottage in Kilcoleman that he had grown up in. It was here, in October 2009, that he was murdered during what is believed to have been a burglary.

Source: Michele Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

The whole area was completely shocked. We all thought it was a sudden death when the investigation started. When the guards saw the remains and the state of the house, they said it was more than a sudden death.

Gardaí believe the elderly man was killed some time between 3pm on Thursday 22 October and 10am Friday 23 October 2009. There were signs of a disturbance in the cottage and the Limerick Leader reported a sum of money was also missing.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

‘Worried about break-ins’

Lynch said his friend had told him that if anyone ever broke into his home, “I’d put up a fight”.

“He used to always say that he was kind of worried about break-ins in his later years. You could see it in him. He was a strong man all his life – at one time he wouldn’t have been afraid of anything. It was all manual labour for him.”

In March 2014, a man in his 50s was arrested in the Limerick area and questioned in relation to the murder. He was released and a file was prepared for the Director of Public Prosecution by investigating gardaí. The DPP decided not to pursue a prosecution.

‘The nicest man you could meet’

It is eight years since Jim was murdered and he is still fondly remembered by the people in his community.

When TheJournal.ie visited Kilcoleman a week after his birthday, a bunch of flowers had been left on his grave to mark the occasion.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

A local cab driver spoke of bringing the 92-year-old to and from Lynch’s bar regularly.

“He’d have been well-known, he wore a long coat normally and he walked with his hands behind his back,” she said.

“Once Jim had been pointed out to you once, you’d know him from then on.

He was a lovely man. He was an educated man and it was very interesting listening to him. He used to live in London and he’d tell you about who he saw giving speeches at Speakers’ Corner.

“It was a huge shock to everybody. You wonder how someone can just be murdered in their own home and no one saw it.”

“He was the nicest man you could meet, very unoffensive,” his Lynch remembered.

“If he didn’t have anything to say about you, he definitely would say nothing bad.

“He was part of the furniture here, he had his own space in the pub there he’d anchor in,” he said pointing out a spot at the bar where he said Jim would stand – rarely sit – for an hour or two when he popped in.

Source: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

“Then he’d get up and say he was going to the stock exchange – that’s what he called the bookies. He was witty, he’d tell stories about being a young man and working for farmers at 16 or 17.”

He was in very good health at the time [of his murder], he’d had both his hips done a few years before. He enjoyed his life, he attended most of the hurling matches and he went to the racing in Listowel. He had his TV and his radio, he wasn’t short of anything.

“A man of such an old age, to have something like that happen to him, it was very troublesome.”

Anyone with information about Jim’s murder can contact Crimestoppers in confidence on 1800 25 00 25.

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