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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 24 June, 2019
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'He was the definition of a gentleman': Rural community in shock at killing of pensioner (90)

A man in his 20s was arrested by gardai yesterday evening.

SUSPECTED MURDER VICTIM Paddy Lyons was a well-known Waterford pensioner whose killing has shocked the sleepy rural village he had called home for all of his 90 years.

Lyons’ lifeless body was discovered slumped in a chair at his small cottage in Ballysaggart, a tiny village less than 10 kilometres from Lismore in Waterford.

Over a dozen gardaí combed the area yesterday searching for clues that might shed light on why he was killed.

On Saturday, one of Paddy’s neighbours had a knock on the door where she was met by a couple who told her they were worried for the pensioner’s wellbeing.

Before she could ask a question, the couple got into a white van and headed off in the direction of Lismore.

The neighbour, who coincidentally turned out to be Paddy’s home help carer, walked the 500 metres up to the bachelor’s home where she made the grim discovery.

Gardaí and an ambulance were called but Paddy Lyons, a man known for his spritely spirit and love of hurling, was dead in his own living room.

One avenue of investigation being pursued by gardaí is that Lyons disturbed a burglary at his home and received head injuries which led to his death.

A man in his 20s was arrested yesterday evening in relation to Paddy’s death and was being held at Waterford garda station.

The man and the woman who called to the neighbour’s door on Saturday have now contacted gardaí, after an appeal was put out yesterday afternoon.

20170227_125352 Gardaí close to the murder scene.

Cash 

Despite his unkempt appearance, Paddy Lyons had accumulated “enough money worth taking”, according to local sources. He had tended his 30 acres of farmland his whole life, and is understood to have kept the cash at his home.

Lyons was supposed to attend the funeral of a lifelong friend on Saturday afternoon. An 88 year-old-woman was being laid to rest and his absence from the funeral was remarked upon by locals.

One theory is that burglars had targeted homes in Ballysaggart knowing that there were to be a lot of empty homes due to the funeral.

Tom Veale, treasurer of the local community alert scheme, said he was appalled to hear of the death of such a well-liked man.

Paddy was a character. He’d have attended the monthly dances in the area his whole life. Other than a slight limp, he was still active and getting out. It’s a terrible shock to us all here.

“We all knew him well. A lot of the time people would be giving him a lift into Lismore which is only a few miles away,” Veale told TheJournal.ie.

He was a keen follower of the hurling, not so much in his later years but when he was younger. It’s a terrible tragedy for the area and for the people who would have seen him every day. We’ll leave it in the guards’ hands now and see what happens. People are anxious here now and you can’t blame them.

Post-mortem

A post-mortem ruled out death from natural causes sparking the launch of the murder investigation. The pensioner was originally found with marks on his hands and face and there were also signs of forced entry at the property.

Kathleen Roche, who runs one of Ballysaggart’s local shops, said Paddy Lyons was a lovely man who kept to himself.

“He was a good man and he was very well liked by people in the area. There was not a bad word said about him. It’s a terrible shock for the whole area,” she told TheJournal.ie.

One of Lyons’ close friends Declan Doocey said the area has been left numb by Lyons’ passing.

Doocey, who is also a local Fine Gael councillor, described him as a man who would always have a smile on his face, someone who saw the good in people and got on with his life.

20170227_130240 (1) Roche's shop in Ballysaggart.

“He was the definition of a gentleman. He was a personal friend of mine. I’d see him all the time and we’d have a laugh and a joke. He was a proper community man and would always have a smile on his face.

He’d have tended his land for most of his life and lived off of that. He wasn’t interested in material things or what have you. He was happy to be with people whose company he enjoyed.

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An incident room has been set up at Dungarvan Garda Station. Anyone with information is being urged to contact gardaí there on 058 48 600.

Read: Man in his 40s dies in Galway road accident

Read: Nigel Farage ‘squeezed in at last second’ to dine with Donald Trump

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