Friend of victim: Homeless are living in fear as killer at large

Friend of victim: Homeless are living in fear as killer at large
The deceased Francis Dunne.

A HOMELESS friend of the Cork man who was brutally murdered and dismembered said the streets have become an even more dangerous place with his killer at large.

Blackpool native John Cooney said the homeless community has been left living in fear by the horrific crime which saw the body of Francis Dunne found in the garden of vacant Castlegreina House, Boreenmanna Rd, with his head and arms removed last Saturday afternoon.

He emphasised that everyone’s life is at risk if the killer remains free.

“This person isn’t just a danger to homeless people,” John said. “They are a danger to society as a whole. Everyone is on high alert. This is a complicated and difficult situation.”

John hopes that justice can be served for his friend of 11 years who had supported him during times of hardship.

“I knew him from the streets,” he said. “One day I was in a bad place and he gave me the price of a pack of cigarettes. When you’re on the streets, every day is a low point but this was a particularly low point. I’ll never forget that. In these situations, small luxuries can feel like heaven. He didn’t want the money back but I later returned it to him anyway. When you’re down something as small as a packet of cigarettes can be your one comfort.

“The streets are a difficult place. It’s nice to be reminded that somebody cares about you. You would experience kindness from other homeless people now and again, but Frankie was someone you’d see on a regular basis. He was always there.”

However, John wasn’t the only person to benefit from Frankie’s kindness.

Castlegreina House, on Boreenmanna road, Cork where a body was discovered on SaturdayPicture: Eddie O'Hare
Castlegreina House, on Boreenmanna road, Cork where a body was discovered on SaturdayPicture: Eddie O'Hare

“Frankie had his heart for the right people,” said John. “If you were cold he would do everything in his power to get you another blanket. That was just the kind of person he was.”

John described how Frankie had a gift for lifting people’s spirits.

“It’s good to talk to someone when you’re alone and Frankie had a way of bringing people out of their doom. A lot of the time we’ll share our situations but it’s not often that we speak about our lives before homelessness.”

He described how the homeless community is still reeling following the ordeal.

“Out of all the cities in the world, we can’t believe this happened in Cork,” said John. “Frankie is the last person we thought this would happen to. The person responsible for this needs to be taken away from the public before he does this to someone else.”

John said that he never knew of anyone with animosity towards his friend.

“He understood difficult people, especially those suffering with addictions. He was well able to accept people and never held a grudge. Frankie never robbed anyone. Instead, he would do without to make sure others were okay. For someone on the streets, kindness like that can be unusual.

“I don’t know how anybody could have got it into their brain to do something like this. This was some mother’s son who never came across as anything less than a good man. He had his ups and downs but never took it out on anybody else.”

The pair met regularly at soup kitchen charity Cork Penny Dinners.

“He was a great communicator even though didn’t say much,” said John. “Most of the time, he would just smile at you. If someone was in a bad place he could sense it and ask if they were okay.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Bridewell Garda Station on 021 4943330 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

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