Death of County Limerick pensioner was murder, say gardai after case review

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville

A MURDER investigation has begun in West Limerick into the death of James Mulqueen, the 92-year-old pensioner who died in suspicious circumstances three years ago.

A MURDER investigation has begun in West Limerick into the death of James Mulqueen, the 92-year-old pensioner who died in suspicious circumstances three years ago.

A reconstruction of the events surrounding the murder will be broadcast next Tuesday in RTE’s Crime-call programme.

“Some people do know what happened,” Inspt Paul Reidy, Askeaton said this week.

“We are hoping that somebody out there has information that hasn’t been revealed to us and they may reconsider coming forward.“

Det Insp Eamon O’Neil, Henry Street, who is leading the investigation into Mr Mulqueen’s murder, stressed that the investigation had never been closed. However, he added, the upgrade to a murder investigation had followed on an extensive review in which many experts were involved.

These included forensic experts, a number of national Garda units such as the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, as well as detective units in Limerick and Askeaton.

And he appealed to anyone who might have information to come forward and help them.

Mr Mulqueen’s body was discovered at his home at Kilmakeara, Kilcolman on Friday, October 23, 2009 when neighbours noticed he had not left home to collect his pension, as was his habit.

Initially, Gardai considered his death was due to natural causes but, following a post-mortem on the body which revealed some broken bones, it was decided to treat the death as suspicious.

Door-to-door enquiries were carried out and garda forensic experts carried out an examination of the house. No evidence of a forced entry was found nor was there any evidence of any property being stolen.

But there was some evidence that the interior of the two-bedroomed cottage had been disturbed.

An article in the Sunday World last weekend claimed that a €5 note was found in Mr Mulqueen’s throat during the post-mortem and demonstrated a possible and personalised motive for the attack on him.

However, Det Inspt O’Neill declined to comment on the article’s claims. for “operational reasons” connected with the ongoing investigation.

However, the decision to upgrade the investigation to murder is certain to rekindle the dismay, revulsion and sense of horror felt throughout the locality following Mr Mulqueen’s death.

His death left its mark, in particular, on the quiet, peaceful, rural community in which he was born, lived and died, a place where neighbourliness was and is an active part of everyday life and where Mr Mulqueen was held in great affection.

“He was a quiet man, independent-minded, who kept going while he could,” one neighbour said of him. And he described Mr Mulqueen as “a great man for his newspaper, the horses, his radio and television”. “He was quite content on his own,” another said.

The post-master at Ardagh post-office where Mr Mulqueen collected his pension every week described him as a “very nice, pleasant man”.

“He was here every Friday, regular as clockwork”, he said. “We always had a chat and he was well-up on all local events. He was a supporter of all things local.”

Mr Mulqueen, who never married, was born and grew up in the very house in which he died. He was one of a family of three and went to the national school in Kilcolman.

Afterwards, he worked for farmers in the locality before leaving to work in England where he stayed for about 20 years.

Following the death of a brother, Mr Mulqueen returned to the home place and worked in construction in Newcastle West and then, until his retirement, with the Office of Public Works.

The Crimecall programme goes out at 9.35pm on RTE 1 next Tuesday.

Anyone with information can call 1800 40 50 60.