83 year old widower Edward (Eddie) Fitzmaurice had lived and worked in the small town of Bellaghy, Charlestown, Co. Mayo for over 40 years before he was assaulted and left to die by unknown assailants over the 1998 May Bank Holiday. Despite numerous appeals for information, 23 years have now passed but his murder remains unsolved.
Eddie was living alone in an apartment above his drapery shop at the time of his murder. He was described as a quiet but popular member of the Bellaghy community. His wife, Rita, had died a number of years earlier, and 3 of his 4 children were living in Britain.
It is believed Eddie was bound, gagged and assaulted at some point between 8.20pm on Friday, 1st May and Saturday morning, 2nd May. Sadly, his body lay undiscovered until a neighbour gained access to the apartment at 6.45pm on 5th May 1998.
Gardaí believe Eddie was assaulted in an attempt to rob him of £13,000 (about €16500) in life savings. His assailants tied him to a chair and, while attempting to free himself, he fell to the floor where he eventually succumbed to hypothermia.
In 2005, 7 people were arrested in connection with Eddie’s murder. Gardaí did not reveal any details about their identities and no charges were ever brought.
This is still an active case and Crimestoppers have offered a reward for information leading to the identification and prosecution of the perpetrators. Anyone with information can contact the Serious Crime Review Team using the below details.
The murdered body of 50 year old Eugenia Bratis was discovered in a wooded area just off Military Road in Phoenix Park, Dublin on the 5th August 2008. Eugenia was a Romanian national who had been travelling between Ireland and Romania for a number of years and had been living rough in Phoenix Park at the time of her murder. She had previously been seen begging on O’Connell Bridge and Street in Dublin City Centre.
Around 3.30pm on the day she was discovered, pensioner Mick Gorey was taking his daily walk in Phoenix Park when he stopped to talk to another man he knew from walking in the park. Their attention was brought to a nearby wooded area and, upon investigation, Eugenia’s body was discovered. Mr Gorey went to the nearby residence of Ann O’Shea who alerted Gardaí to the discovery. The man Mr Gorey was speaking to has not been identified and is described as average build, bald and in his late 60’s or early 70’s. Gardaí have appealed for this man to come forward.
Eugenia was lying on her side and there were plastic bags around her. It was initially believed that she had died in her sleep but when the Garda doctor lifted her clothes and duvet, it was discovered that she had been stabbed. It is believed that she had been killed between 24 and 48 hours before her body was discovered and her body showed no signs of defensive wounds. This has led Gardaí to speculate that Eugenia may have been held down by one person while another attacked her. There were no signs of sexual assault.
Gardaí were initially unsure of Eugenia’s identity but, following a media appeal where a photograph of Eugenia and her belongings were published, they traced her identity to Timisoara where her husband and two adult children were living in poor conditions.
Despite following up on over 1000 lines of enquiry, Eugenia’s murder has never been solved and a suspect has not been identified. Two Romanian men were arrested in November 2009, but this did not lead to a breakthrough.
During the trial of Graham Dwyer for the murder of Elaine O’Hara it was revealed that he made reference to Eugenia’s murder in messages to Elaine. It is believed that Gardaí plan to investigate any potential links between Eugenia and Graham Dwyer as a result.
Anyone with information can contact Cabra Garda Station on 01 666 7400, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.
Malawi native, Paiche Onyemaechi (nee Unyolo) was a 25 year old mother of two, and the daughter of the then-Malawian chief justice, when she was murdered in 2004. As the 16th anniversary of her murder recently passed, the case remains open and no one has been charged.
Paiche originally left Malawi in the 1990s to complete a business administration course in London, but moved to Ireland in 1999 with her Nigerian-born husband, Chika (sometimes spelt Chicka). She had been working in Limerick before moving to Waterford in May 2001 with her husband and two young sons. She was reported missing by her husband on the 10th July 2004 who stated that she left their home in Herblain Park, Waterford on the 8th of July and had not returned.
Gardaí have confirmed that the last sighting of Paiche was at 5pm on the 8th July at Pickardstown, Co. Waterford. Pickardstown is a rural location just outside the seaside town of Tramore and is located about 7.5km south of Paiche’s home.
Two weeks after she went missing, Paiche’s decapitated body was discovered wrapped in plastic on ground beside the River Pil about 5km outside Piltown, Co. Kilkenny on the road to Templeorum. Her head has never been recovered and Gardaí believe it may have been taken as a trophy by her killer. Piltown is located about 30km north-west of Paiche’s home in Waterford. Gardaí are satisfied that Paiche was not murdered at this location and are seeking information in relation to the scene of her murder.
Paiche’s husband did not attend her funeral and indications are that he has not been seen since her body was identified. Gardaí have stated that they are concerned for his safety and would like to speak to him. Arrangements were made for Paiche’s sons to return to Malawi to live with Paiche’s father.
In August 2004 two men were arrested in Dublin in connection with Paiche’s murder. Newspapers from the time reported that the men were believed to be Nigerian nationals and one of them was believed to be related to Paiche’s husband. The men were released without charge and a file was prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. In 2005 Gardaí were reported as saying charges in the case were imminent. However no one was ever formally prosecuted for Paiche’s murder.
Also in 2004 an anonymous letter was sent to Gardaí which contained information on the ‘culprits’. Gardaí have appealed for the letter writer to come forward and also issued a general appeal for information in 2015, particularly from those in the African community in Waterford. Despite the appeal, Paiche’s case remains open.
Anyone with information can contact Kilkenny Garda Station on 056 77 75000, or Crimestoppers on 1800 250 025.
Henry Hurley was a 32 year old taxi driver when he was murdered near Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare sometime between 3am and 4.30pm on 7th July, 1989.
Henry lived on Summerville Avenue on the South Circular Road in Limerick and had been driving a taxi for 6 years before he was brutally murdered. On the night of 7th July 1989, Henry was seen in the company of 2 men with English accents around 3am near Setright’s Cross, Co. Clare, about a 15 minute drive from Limerick City.
The next day at around 4.40pm, his body was found close to the ‘Golf Ball’ in the Cratloe Hills near Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare. His white, 1989 Nissan Sunny was nearby. The Golf Ball is an old radar ball for nearby Shannon Airport and is approximately 10 minutes from where Henry was last seen. It is believed that Henry may have picked up a taxi fare just before he was murdered and a post-mortem showed Henry had suffered a violent beating.
In 1991 an English national was charged in connection with Henry’s death but the case collapsed after the Director of Public Prosecutions entered a nolle prosequi. A nolle prosequi is usually entered when there is a problem with the evidence assembled making it difficult to proceed with the case.
In 2010, 21 years after the murder, Gardaí launched an appeal for information. This included handing out leaflets with details of the murder at taxi ranks in Limerick City. Despite the appeal, and the offer of a reward for information, 31 years have now passed since the murder, and the crime has not been solved.
Marie Kilmartin disappeared from Portlaoise in December of 1993. There are conflicting reports regarding the exact date of her disappearance, with different sources listing the 15th, 16th or 17th December. She was missing for 6 months before her body was found in a bog on the Laois/Offaly border. She had been strangled. Although Gardaí have made a number of arrests, her killer has still not been charged.
Marie was originally from Balinasloe, Co. Galway but was living in Beladd on the Stradbally Road in Portlaoise. When she was about 20 years old, she gave birth to a daughter who was adopted by Marie’s family members. Her daughter, Áine, was 13 when Marie disappeared but did not discover she was adopted until she was 20. She even attended Marie’s funeral after her mother’s body was discovered, but remained unaware of her true relationship to Marie until years later.
Marie worked in a nearby old people’s home and, on the day of her disappearance, she had attended a Christmas Party at the home. She returned to her own home after the party and had plans to meet a friend around 6pm that evening. When the friend came to Marie’s house that evening she saw Marie’s shopping on a chair on the kitchen but Marie was not at home.
Neighbours reported that Marie had been very upset after speaking to someone on the phone on the day before she disappeared. Following investigations, Gardaí confirmed that the call was made to Marie around 4.3opm from a public phone box on the Dublin Road in Portlaoise. The call lasted about 2 and a half minutes. No other calls were made from the phone box for 20 minutes before and 10 minutes after the call to Marie.
Marie’s number was ex-directory which leads Gardaí to believe she knew the caller. A witness who was in the area at the time remembered seeing a man in the phone box who she described as 5’8″ tall and about 30 years old. Despite numerous appeals, this man has never come forward and has never been identified.
No trace of Marie was found for many months until a prison officer who was cutting turf happened upon her body. It was extremely lucky that Marie’s body was found as her body was weighed down by a six inch concrete block on her chest, and a pram and parts of a gas heater were also used to conceal her body. Water levels in the bog had recently dropped, allowing her body to be discovered. She was fully dressed in the clothing she had been wearing at the Christmas party on the day she disappeared.
A postmortem revealed she had been strangled and there was no evidence of sexual assault.
Two men were questioned in June, 1994 but were released without charge. In 2008, Gardaí arrested two men and a woman, aged in their 40s and 60s, in connection with Marie’s murder. They were questioned for 24 hours each before being released without charge.
In August 2019, at the Central Criminal Court, a detective made an application to transfer six interviews Gardaí conducted with the chief suspect in the case from VCR to DVD. The application was approved.
It is now expected that Marie’s murder will be investigated by the Gardaí’s serious crime review team.
Anybody with any information relating to the disappearance and murder of Marie Kilmartin is asked to contact Portlaoise Gardaí at 057-8674100 or Crimestoppers on 1800-250025.
Eileen Costello O’Shaughnessy was a 47 year old mother of two when she was murdered in Galway on the 30th November 1997.
Eileen was a taxi driver in Galway City and normally worked the day shift. On the day of her murder she had started work at 8am. At 8pm she informed the taxi base that she was taking a final fare from near Quay Street to Claregalway, a journey which would have taken about 20 minutes. Around 20 minutes later the taxi base attempted to contact Eileen to collect a fare in Claregalway but was unable to reach her. She was due to meet the owner of the taxi on the Dyke Road at 9pm to hand over the keys but she didn’t arrive. The taxi owner became worried at this point and also attempted to contact her.
Worried about her safety, a number of Eileen’s co-workers immediately began searching for Eileen. Around midnight her taxi, a silver Toyota Carina with the registration 97G6663, was discovered at Lydon House Bakery on the Tuam Road. There was blood in the car which indicated a violent struggle had taken place. The taxi meter also gave a reading of 17 miles.
Searches for Eileen continued through the night. However around midday the next day her body was discovered at a location know as Tinkers Lane near Knockdoemore off the N17. Eileen had been assaulted and died from severe brain injuries. She had not been sexually assaulted. The distance showing on Eileen’s taxi meter indicates that she drove to this location before the killer drove the car back to Lydon House Bakery where they abandoned it.
Eileen’s brother Martin Costello, a fellow taxi driver, stated that Eileen would have had about £70 or £80 on her at time of her murder. He believed she was murdered for her takings. Due to the violent nature of the murder, Eileen’s killer would have had bloodstains on their clothing and may also have sustained injuries.
Around 8.30pm on the night of the murder, a blonde woman was seen walking in the hard shoulder of the N17 near where Eileen’s body was found. She was walking towards Galway against oncoming traffic and appeared to be in a distressed state. She has never been identified. Newspapers from the days after Eileen’s murder said that Gardaí did not believe this woman and had a link to the murder but as of 2017 they are appealing for information on her.
At 8.45pm a motorist spotted Eileen’s taxi driving erratically on the N17 towards Galway. The motorist overtook the taxi near Leaders shop and saw a man with a beard driving it. The taxi then turned left into Lydon House Bakery where it was found hours later. This man has never been identified and Gardaí are appealing for more information.
Shortly thereafter, around 9pm, a man was seen jumping down from a wall close to Lydon House Bakery and walking in the direction of Galway. He was wearing a green jacket and carrying a small canvas bag. This man has never been identified.
Finally, a small red car was seen at 2am at Tinkers Lane where Eileen’s body was found. The car had reversed up the laneway and had the parking lights on. The occupants of this car have never been identified.
Despite numerous appeals for information, no one has ever been arrested for Eileen’s murder. Gardaí have previously stated that they have numerous suspects but suspicion often falls to double murderer Thomas Murray. At the time of the murder, Murray was on temporary release from Castlerea prison and was working as a labourer in Galway city. A witness supposedly placed Murray close to Tinkers Lane on the morning that Eileen’s body was discovered. Gardaí questioned Murray but apparently he had an alibi for the night of the murder.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091-533250.
Charles Self was stabbed to death in his home in Monkstown on the 21st January 1982. Despite repeated appeals for information, Gardaí are no closer to finding his killer.
Charles was born in England on Valentine’s Day 1949. Following the death of his mother, he was mainly raised by his Aunt in Glasgow. He had been working as a set-designer for the BBC when, in 1978, Alpho O’Reilly, head of design for RTÉ, persuaded him to move to Ireland to work for RTÉ. In an unrelated case, Alpho would later disappear himself in 1996 but I’ll go into more detail on that at another time.
Charles was well-known on the homosexual scene in Dublin at a time when it was extremely difficult to be gay. For context, homosexuality wasn’t decriminalised in Ireland for another 11 years.
On the evening of his murder, Charles spent about 30 minutes in The Bailey Bar. He then went to the South William Public House and stayed here until about 10.30pm. From here he met 5 friends in the now closed Bartley Dunne bar on Stephen’s Street Lower. Bartley Dunne was a known gay bar and Charles regularly socialised here.
When Bartley Dunne’s closed at 11.30pm, Charles left the bar heading along D’Olier Street onto Burgh Quay where he entered the Hotpot Café. The walk would have taken about 15 minutes. He ordered food at the Hotspot Café and spent about 30 minutes eating at the counter and chatting to the other customers.
After leaving the Hotpot Café he went to the public toilets on the corner of Burgh Quay and O’Connell Bridge. These toilets were reportedly a notorious gay hookup spot. According to witnesses, Charles spoke to two men here who were never identified and Gardaí are appealing for information on them. The first man was described as skinny, wearing a leather jacket and blue jeans, and was around 25 years old. The second man is described as pudgy with long blonde hair and wearing a black jacket with a white stripe down the sleeve.
Around 12.20am Charles and a young man took a taxi from Eden Quay back to Charles’ flat at Annesley Mews, off Brighton Avenue in Monkstown. During a reconstruction aired on RTÉ, the man with Charles was described as being very quiet, while another source says the two were ‘amorous’ in the taxi. This man was described as in his 20’s and with blonde hair. He was smartly dressed and wearing a two piece suit.
Around 8.50am on the following morning Charles was found stabbed to death at the bottom of the stairs in his flat. His body was found by Berty Tyrer, a friend who had stayed the night while Charles’ regular housemate was in London. Berty regularly crashed at Charles’ house and had stayed on this particular night as it had been snowing and this prevented him from getting to his own home in Wicklow. When Berty tried to call the Gardaí he was unable to get a dial tone and had to run to a neighbour’s to raise the alarm.
Charles had been stabbed 14 times and suffered 3 slash wounds to his throat. The torn cord from his roommate’s dressing gown was also wound tightly around his neck. The rest of the cord was tied to a chair. Gardaí reported that the assault on Charles started in the kitchen of the apartment before moving into the sitting room and ending in the hallway. The scene was described as chaotic, with the stereo still playing and records strewn across the room. The murder itself has been described by Gardaí as ‘brutal and frenzied’. 6 of the stab wounds, which were inflicted with an 8 inch kitchen knife, were so vicious that they went completely through his body.
The location of Charles’ body meant it was impossible to open the front door to the apartment. This led Gardaí to believe that the killer may have fled through a small window in the kitchen. However the window was also only 2ft wide and opened inwards making it almost impossible for someone to come in or out of, especially without disturbing the dishes on the counter. Furniture was also placed over some of the bloodstains leading Gardaí to believe the scene may have been staged.
Despite the ferociousness of the murder, Berty slept through the entire thing. He did say he was woken by someone entering his room at 2.30am before they apologised and closing the door. Although Berty only saw the man briefly he described him as having curly dark hair, while the man in the taxi with Charles was described as having straight blonde hair. Berty reported hearing no other noises that night. A neighbour in a nearby building did hear screaming during the night and another neighbour who lived across the courtyard reported hearing a stone bench being dragged through the courtyard at 4am. When she looked out she saw a man climbing over the wall into a nearby garden and noticed that the door to Charles’ home was ajar.
Gardaí received much criticism of their investigation into Charles’ murder. As mentioned above, homosexuality was still illegal at the time and the Gardaí were notoriously homophobic. Many gay men were questioned as part of the investigation and many of those questioned were not openly gay or had any logical connection to the murder. Gardaí seemed convinced that a ‘rent boy’ was responsible for the murder.
It is feared that, as Gardaí were so unwelcoming to members of the LGBT community at the time of the murder, key witnesses may have been afraid to come forward for fear of harassment. Gardaí hope that someone with information may still come forward especially as their relationship with the LGBT community has greatly improved.
The most obvious killer is the man who returned home with Charles, although Gardaí have never publicly named him as a suspect. Did something go wrong when they got to the house? Stabbing Charles 14 times, and so brutally that the knife went completely through his body, seems like overkill. It also points to a murderer who was extremely angry at the time of the killing and indicates a personal element also. Since Charles was also found with a torn ligament around his neck, and the other part of the ligament on a chair, it could indicate that the killer attempted to torture Charles in some way.
However the one thing I can’t get past is Berty sleeping through the violent struggle occurring downstairs. One newspaper explained this away by saying that Berty was in his 60s and was possibly hard of hearing but surely if someone entering his room was enough to wake him, then a violent murder taking place just downstairs would be more than enough to rouse him. The fact that Charles’ body was also found inside the front door, preventing it from being opened and with no other feasible exit, makes me extremely suspicious of Berty who remained in the house. However Gardaí never seemed to consider him a suspect and even asked him to draw a sketch of the man in the house. I haven’t found any sources stating whether Berty was gay or not, but if not this could explain why Gardaí didn’t see him as a suspect Maybe they were so determined to focus on the LGBT community that they ignored a potential suspect closer to home.
Of course there could be a much simpler explanation. Maybe Berty did hear the commotion downstairs but, fearing for his life, he stayed in his room so as to avoid getting killed himself. When he found Charles dead he was so ashamed that he didn’t intervene that he found it easier to pretend he slept through the whole event, eventually taking this secret to the grave.
Whatever happened that night, it’s been 37 years and Gardaí are still trying to discover who murdered Charles Self and what their motivation was. Anyone with information is asked to contact Gardaí at Dun Laoghaire Garda Station on 016665000.