A CLOSE friend of the homeless man who was beaten to death in the city claims she had been intimated and threatened shortly before his killing.
Kellie Lynch said she was spooked by a sinister threat and had been preparing to leave the tented community in the Mardyke Walk area, where she lived near the victim Timmy Hourihane.
Timmy, a homeless chef, died following a brutal weekend assault in an area where homeless people had gathered to live in tents.
The Bantry native was discovered lying close to his tent which had been set alight before emergency services were called.
Kellie, who stayed in a tent next to Timmy, said:
"It's been really scary.
"We're very shook after what's happened. Timmy was a very good friend to us and he died at the hands of an animal."
Kellie emphasised how lucky she was to be spared the attack.
"Our tents were just next door to each other. We came home to find that part of our own tent had been damaged by the fire as well. There could have been three deaths."
Kellie said she had provided Timmy with a tent to sleep in before the tragedy.
"We had a tent for ourselves and a tent for our belongings. That was the one we gave to Timmy. He also had a duvet and some pillows from us. We did our best for Timmy."
The 23-year-old revealed that on the day before the murder she and Timmy were both threatened with physical harm by a man.
"I went white after he threatened me," she said of the man responsible.
"That same person tried to kick me. We were called awful names, some of which I can't mention. It was the scariest thing I have ever encountered."
Nonetheless, Kellie said she could never have anticipated the horror that awaited them.
"It was expected that a tent would be burned down but we never thought this would end in murder."
Kellie and her partner had already made preparations to leave the area before the killing occurred.
"We took our stuff to go. However, we didn't have a trolley to put it all into so we knew we'd have to wait until the morning."
Kellie, who spoke to The Echo at Cork Penny Dinners today, said that their own tent is now part of the crime scene.
"We have nowhere else to go now. The two of us spent last night sleeping on the floor of the Garda station. I was looking at our tent and wondering how we managed to stay there for so long. Nobody from the camp is here today. Usually, we will always meet someone."
She referenced the horrendous conditions homeless people are subjected to.
"It's not like at home where you can just go to the fridge anytime you feel like a meal. There is no way to shower. All you can do is hope that the rain won't make its way into your tent."
The Douglas woman met Timmy in Cork city just hours before his death.
"We had been out with Timmy in town the night he was killed. We went to find a toilet but when we came out Timmy was gone. It didn't seem like there was anything sinister at play. Timmy was very friendly so we just assumed he had got talking to people and went home early."
Kellie hopes that she and her partner can get back on their feet so they are no longer vulnerable to attacks.
"We are begging for help and getting nowhere. It makes me wonder how homeless you have to be before anyone will help you."
Anyone with information on the killing has been asked to contact Anglesea Street Garda Station on 021 4522000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.