UPDATE:: Supt. Mary Murray from Sligo Gardaí has confirmed that the Garda Technical Bureau continues to examine the scene of the tragedy and is likley to continue for some time. It has also been confirmed that a team of thirty officers are investigating the case.Gardaí are not revealing the outcome of the post mortem at this time however the investigation has been upgraded to a murder inquiry. Additional patrols have also been deployed in the town.
As more details
emerge about the untimely and horrendous death of Sligo man, Eugene
Gillespie, at the hands of vicious thugs who broke into his home, one
man is determined to raise a reward for information leading to the
conviction of those involved.
Declan Foley, from a respected
Sligo family now resident in Australia, posted the following notice on
this site, "I am going to organise a fund to raise a reward for
information leading to the conviction of those involved. Anyone wishing
to support this please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org It is past
time when decent people are murdered with impunity in their own homes."
It is believed that this will the first occasion that a private reward has been offered in Sligo town.
It is now understood Mr Gillespie’s hands and legs were tied with cable wire and he had suffered a broken jaw during the brutal assault. Gardaí now believe Mr Gillespie, who lived alone, opened the door to his killer or killers, before what they have described as "an aggravated burglary".
found him unconscious and bleeding when they called to his house after
he failed to answer his phone. One source said: “Word is his hands and legs were
bound so tight the blood supply was cut off.
“He was also beaten.
It looks like whoever did it was looking for money and battered him
around the head when he either couldn’t or didn’t hand it over.
was a lovely gentle man and he was left to die alone. When he was found
he was unconscious, and no one knows how long his ordeal lasted.”
have been reassuring elderly people living alone in the close-knit
neighbourhood who are very frightened following the horrific attack.
The results of the post mortem carried out yesterday at University College Hospital in Galway by the Deputy State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis should be known later.
Left: Eugene Gillespie pictured in the back of a vintage car. Photo: Facebook
was a gentleman who always had a big hello for you, either in Irish or
English,” said Donal McLynn who owns a nearby pub. “Eugene was the kind
of man who would let anyone in if there was a knock on the door. It is
just horrible. It makes us all nervous.”
Ironically, the former telephone exchange operator, who was known as a Gaeilgeoir (an Irish speaker), had a reputation for looking out for elderly people living in the old Market Street and High Street area of Sligo.
Relatives and neighbours
Mr Gillespie, a vintage car collector and rally organiser, are
devastated that the popular pensioner apparently endured two days of
agony while tied to a chair in his terraced house in Old Market Street,
where he had lived all his life and described the former Telecom Eireann worker as a trusting and caring man.
The Connaght Veteran and Vintage
Motor Club has posted on its website the following message, "As a mark
of respect to a true gentleman and great friend of the club, we have
decided to postpone our up-coming indoor car show at Breaffy House,
Castlebar on 30th Sept."
Left: Eugene Gillespie lived above the old family shop.Photo: SligoToday.ie
Independent Socialist Sligo Councillor
and former Labour TD Declan Bree, who lives closeby, said the entire
community was horrified that a person could be brutally killed in his
own home and so close to the Garda station.
He said Mr Gillespie,
who was immensely proud of vintage cars including a Jaguar and Morris
that he kept in pristine condition at the back of his home, was known as
a good neighbour who was always cheerful. “His gentle, kind presence
will be missed in our neighbourhood,” he said.
"While there has been incidents in rural areas I think there is significant concern now in Sligo town that we have had a number of instances of aggravated burglaries in the neighbourhood over the past number of years.
"It strikes me that the person or persons responsible for these attacks are deliberately targetting victims who they obviously know live alone," Cllr Bree concluded.
brother Brian, who farms at Calry, outside Sligo, said last night the
family was “devastated” at the brutal circumstances of his death.
Gillespie, who is also survived by two sisters, Patsy and Elizabeth,
lived over the former pork and bacon shop that their father ran in Old
It was later a small grocery store, and Mr Gillespie had sold Christmas trees from the premises every year until recently.
Gillespie was also an ardent supporter of the Save Hazelwood Campaign.
He served as the public relations officer for the organisation in 2006
and objected strongly to the development plans submitted to Sligo County
Council by Forest Haze Developments some years later.
parish priest Fr Dominick Gillooly described the killing as “very sad
and very violent”. He said: “He was a very inoffensive man, a Gaeilgeoir
who, if someone knocked, would have let them in. There is so much
violence now – something will have to be done about it.”See the Breaking News report, updates and numerous comments
of sympathy on SligoToday.ie 22/9/12
and SligoToday.ie 23/9/12
Funeral arrangements are expected to be known later today.
Garda Technical Bureau continued to investigate the scene, gardaí
appealed for witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious around the
Old Market Street area between 9pm last Wednesday and 9pm on Friday to
contact them in Sligo on 071-9157000, the Garda Confidential line on
1800666111, or any Garda station.Additional reporting : Irish Times
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