Search for Gussie Hornibrook’s killer — 11 years on

Search for Gussie Hornibrook’s killer — 11 years on

Gus Hornibrook who was found murdered at his home in Templeacre Avenue in November 2007.

A TIE found at the scene of pensioner Gussie Hornibrook’s murder is seen as one of the vital clues in the mystery of who killed him.

The murder of the 73-year-old is under review by the Garda Cold Case unit and sources said the investigation remains open, 11 years on.

He was found dead in his home on Templeacre Avenue in Gurranabraher after midday on November 6, 2007 by his brother Robert. It is believed he had been killed some hours earlier, late on November 5. Nobody has ever been questioned or charged in relation to the murder.

CCTV footage of Gus Hornibrook in Singleton’s shop on Gurranabraher Road the night before he was found murdered in his home.
CCTV footage of Gus Hornibrook in Singleton’s shop on Gurranabraher Road the night before he was found murdered in his home.

There was no sign of a forced entry at the home but Mr Hornibrook had always left his door unlocked. There was also no sign of robbery and sums of cash were found in the house after the killing.

However, an inquest into his death heard Gussie’s hands had been bound to his sides by two neck-ties, which were then wrapped around his flexed knees.

He had cuts to both sides of his face, blood on his hands, several rib fractures and fractures to the bones in his neck. Material was found in his mouth, indicating a pillow had been held over his face.

During their investigations at the house, gardaí found a Profumo tie which they believe is linked to the murderer or murderers. Gardaí established that very few of the ties had been sold in Cork and had hoped releasing a photograph of it would jolt people’s memories.

It was navy and blue and believed not to be Gussie’s. Its origin remains a mystery.

Gardaí are hoping that the passing of years will mean that changed friendships and loyalties will result in members of the public coming forward with fresh information. His body was found in a downstairs room the day after he was killed.

He was last seen at 9.30pm at his home, minutes after leaving Singleton’s shop on Gurranabraher Road. He had also visited a local chipper that evening – which was his daily custom. He was regularly seen feeding birds in the area and was often seen walking along the local roads at all times of the day.

Footage of him in Singleton’s shop, along with a reconstruction of his last known movements, were aired on CrimeCall on RTÉ in November 2012.

Up to a dozen calls were received after the programme was aired but nothing resulted from the appeal.

Gardaí believe there are people who know what happened to him but who were afraid to come forward.

Gardaí feel that one man has vital information which could progress the investigation. The man rang Gurranabraher Garda Station on November 7 2017at 9.55am and spoke to Detective Garda Derek Mulcahy for five and a half minutes.

The tie that was found in the house after Gus Hornibrook was murdered. Gardaí believe it didn’t belong to him and say it is a vital clue in the investigation.
The tie that was found in the house after Gus Hornibrook was murdered. Gardaí believe it didn’t belong to him and say it is a vital clue in the investigation.

The anonymous man ended the call by promising to make contact with an update later that day. He has not come forward since, despite numerous appeals by gardaí and members of Mr Hornibrook’s family.

Attempts to trace him from the call have failed.

An inquest, which was concluded in September 2014, heard Mr Hornibrook died from a combination of blunt force trauma to the chest and neck and restraint asphyxia, in association with severe heart disease.

The conclusion of the inquest came just months after the death of his brother Robert, who had found Gussie’s body.

In his statement read to the Coroner’s Court, Robert said he had noticed the lights were off when he went to the house, which he said was unusual. He said he had asked Gussie to get up but when there was no movement from his brother, he ran to his daughter’s house to raise the alarm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Gurranabraher gardaí on (021) 4946200 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.

Timeline of events

9.30pm, November 5, 2007: Gussie Hornibrook was last seen outside his home at Templeacre Avenue in Gurranabraher. Earlier in the evening, he had visited Singleton’s Centra store on Gurranabraher Road.

Lunchtime, November 6: His body was found in his house by his brother Robert. He had been tied up.

9.55am, November 7: An anonymous caller contacted the incident room in Gurranabraher Garda Station and spoke to Detective Garda Derek Mulcahy for five-and-a-half minutes. He promised to call back later that day but did not.

November 20, 2007: Gardaí released a photograph of Gussie. A photograph of a tie, which was found in his house, but did not belong to Gussie, was also released. A reconstruction of his last movements was aired on Crimecall on RTÉ1 that evening.

December 24, 2007: Members of Gussie’s extended family made a heartfelt appeal for help in finding their uncle’s killer but to no avail.

October 2, 2008: The inquest into Gussie’s death opened at the Cork City Coroner’s Court. It was told that he died from a combination of blunt force trauma to the chest and neck (restraint asphyxia), in association with severe heart disease. The inquest was adjourned.

March 5, 2009: The inquest was further adjourned.

November 2012: A fresh appeal for information on the killing was made by the Gardaí but to no avail.

September 2014: The inquest into Gussie’s death went ahead, with a verdict of unlawful killing returned. The Coroner’s Court was told that Gussie had been beaten and had a pillow put over his mouth. The coroner was told that the garda inquiry into the murder remained open.

The hearing was told that small amounts of money were found in the house and there was no evidence of a robbery or of forced entry.

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