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Belmullet death ’suspicious’

Belmullet death ‘suspicious’

Anton McNulty

GARDAÍ in Belmullet are treating as suspicious the death of an elderly bachelor, whose body was found on Sunday afternoon outside his home at Surgeview, Aughleam, and were yesterday carrying out house-to-house enquiries in the locality as part of their investigation.
The deceased, who was named as John Gaughan (72) - a small farmer who lived alone - was found dead by a neighbour in close proximity to his home at 12.20pm on Sunday afternoon. He was last seen alive socialising in Binghamstown between 8pm and 10pm on Saturday evening.
The whole village of Aughleam and the general Erris community was in deep shock at the sudden death and the suspicious circumstances surrounding it, in what is one of the quietest parts of the county, on the edge of the Mullet peninsula.
Mr Gaughan’s remains were removed to Mayo General Hospital on Monday and a full post-mortem was carried out late on Monday evening by State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy. Gardaí said on Monday night that they were analysing the results of the post-mortem and would hold a conference today (Tuesday) in Belmullet to decide what route the investigation would take.
The Garda Technical Bureau had earlier arrived from Dublin and an examination of the scene began at 9am on Monday morning. The examination was due to be completed today.
Gardaí said on Monday they were treating the death as suspicious and were expecting to find out more when the post-mortem was completed and the results analysed. It is believed that there were no signs of any break-in, but Gardaí were keeping an open mind on the cause of death and were following a number of leads.
Superintendent Joe Gannon of Belmullet Garda Station said they were looking into all possibilities, and at this stage were not ruling anything out. “We are treating it as a suspicious death and are pursuing all avenues of enquiry and excluding no possibility. It is obviously not on a whim that we are treating the death as suspicious, but at the moment we are carrying out house-to-house and other enquiries,” he said.
Gardaí are appealing for assistance from the public who may have been in the Binghamstown area between the hours of eight and ten o’clock on Saturday evening or in the Aughleam area up until 12.20pm on Sunday, and who may have seen Mr Gaughan in the vicinity.
Local councillor, Tim Quinn sympathised with the family of Mr Gaughan and described him as a hard-working and honourable man.
“I am shocked and saddened to hear of his death and it is a sad day for the whole community. He was a hard-working man and I found him to be an honourable, genuine and a very sincere gentleman,” said Cllr Quinn.