The funeral is taking place of Richard Flynn, the Offaly man accused of the manslaughter of Father Niall Molloy at his home in Kilcoursey, Clara on 8 July 1985.
Mr Flynn and his wife Theresa were questioned by gardaí after the death of the Roscommon priest in the bedroom of their home in Co Offaly but the manslaughter charges against him never proceeded after a judge withdrew the case from a trial jury in June 1986.
Mr Flynn had been ill for several years and died over the weekend. His funeral is being held today in Tubberclair, Co Westmeath.
His remains will be interred afterwards beside those of his wife Theresa Flynn.
No recorded/detected murders in Leix/Offaly per 1985 commissioner report
A follower on Twitter @smackovsky brought this to my attention today.
REPORT ON CRIME 1985
Report for the year ended ,1985.
Commissioner, Garda Siochána, to the Minister for Justice.
Summary of Report of Mr. Dominic McGinn S.C.
Direct quotation from Report as indicated; emphasis added.
Page 9. Garda Arrival at the Scene.
Fr. Deignan stated that Niall Molloy had fallen against a wall and had hit his head.
“He said that it was a terrible scandal in the parish and asked if there was any way
in which it could be kept quiet.”
Page 10 Garda Arrival at the Scene continued.
“Sergeant Forde was of the view that Richard Flynn appeared calm, cool and
unconcerned. He had a cup of coffee in one hand and his other arm was stretched
along the couch on which he was sitting.”
Page 11 Garda Arrival at the Scene continued.
“There is no information about what, if anything, Teresa Flynn said to the medical
staff or about any clinical findings which may have been reached following
Page 12 Post Mortem Examination.
Dr. Harbison “saw blood staining on the thick carpet on the floor which he estimated
to be over a distance of eight to nine feet. The staining nearest the body was dark
and appeared to have been due to direct bleeding on the surface, but the remainder
was fainter and suggested a smear or a wipe.” Appendix 1.
Pages 12 & 13 Post Mortem Examination continued.
“Dr. Harbison spoke to Inspector Monaghan who provided him with further
information about events in the house the previous night and to Dr. O’ Sullivan.
There is a complete absence of information in the documentation about what exactly
was discussed during either of these conversations or how the details supplied may
have affected Dr. Harbison’s approach to the examination.” Appendix 2.
Page 13 Post Mortem Examination continued.
Dr. Harbison noted “six different areas of injury to the head and three areas of
injury to the legs. The nasal cartilage was slightly more mobile than normal.
There was internal bleeding in the head.”
Page 14 Post Mortem Examination continued.
Dr. Harbison stated “the distribution of these injuries were consistent with Fr. Molloy
having been the recipient of five, six or more blows from an object such as a fist.
Dr. Harbison also noted that there was no injury of a defensive or offensive nature
on Fr. Molloy’s arms or hands.” Appendix 3.
Page 16 Examination of the Scene.
“It seems that there was some attempt at looking at the pattern of the blood spatters,
some of which blood appeared to be diluted or watery, but there were no detailed
notes of this and there is no record of any conclusions being drawn from the
pattern of blood.”
“This aspect of the investigation is particularly frustrating because, subsequently,
there was considerable conjecture about what may or may not have occurred at
Kilcoursey House and a full and careful analysis of the pattern of blood spatters
might have assisted in confirming or dismissing some of the suggested theories.
However, at this remove, all that can be said is that there was no meaningful
interpretation performed at the time and that, therefore, there is no evidence from
which firm conclusions could now safely be drawn.”
Pages 16 & 17 Examination of the Scene continued.
“There is no record to show whether any of these items was analysed at all.”
Page 20 Statements from Non-Family Members.
Fr. James Deignan “recalled that he had been contacted at about 1am by Richard
Flynn.” Sergeant Forde confirmed that Fr. Deignan called to Sergeant Forde’s
house at 3.15 a.m, more than two hours later.
Page 21 Statements from Non-Family Members continued.
Dr. O’ Sullivan found the body to be “quite warm” and concluded that Fr. Molloy
“appeared to be only dead a short time” on his arrival. “Dr. O’Sullivan confirmed that
he was contacted by Fr. Deignan and JJ Flynn at about 2.00 a.m.”
Page 25 Background Evidence.
“Some documentation relating to this transaction has subsequently been
recovered by the Gardai and this is addressed later in this Report. However,
there is no statement from Mr. PP at all.” Appendix 4.
Page 42 Medical Commentary.
“By letter of the 6th of October 1988, Fr. Niall Molloy’s nephew QQ, acting in his
capacity as administrator of his uncle’s estate, formally requested the Garda
Commissioner to re-open the investigation into Fr. Molloy’s death. Part of the
basis for this request was new medical evidence which had emerged. QQ enclosed
with his letter Reports from Professor Dermot Hourihane and Dr. John Dinn.”
“In a Report dated the 20th of October 1987, Professor Hourihane, a Professor of
Histopathology at Trinity College and a Consultant Histopathologist at St.
James’s Hospital in Dublin, ventured an opinion that the anatomical evidence of
injury was very strongly suggestive that Fr. Molloy had received kicks as well as
punches and that he had lived for hours rather than minutes after the injuries
were first received. He based these opinions on a review of the transcripts of the
medical evidence from the inquest, in addition to Dr. John Harbison’s autopsy report
and record of histological findings.” Appendix 5.
Page 43 Doctor John Dinn.
“Dr. John Dinn, a Consultant Neuropathologist at St. James’s Hospital and
Senior Lecturer in Neuropathology at Trinity College, was also provided with the
transcript of Dr. Harbison’s evidence at the inquest along with the depositions of Dr.
Harbison and Dr. Gilsenan, the Coroner’s Report, the opinion of Professor Hourihane,
the histology slides, and two books of Garda photographs. In his Report dated the
16th of September 1988, he detailed the pathological findings in respect of Fr.
Molloy’s brain and agreed with Dr. Harbison’s conclusions in respect of the cause
of death. He went further in setting out the quantity of bleeding within the skull
and opined that this accumulation of blood would not occur with one hour, as
was implied in the statements of evidence. Dr. Dinn asserted that there was
corrobation for this conclusion in the findings from the histology slides which showed
histological changes which take from one to three hours to develop. In conclusion,
Dr. Dinn contended that Fr. Molloy did not die suddenly following the head
trauma but that he was alive and unconscious for more than one hour after the
injuries had been inflicted.”
Page 44 Doctor John Harbison.
“Dr. Harbison did concede that he was unable to rebut Dr. Dinn’s assertion that
the changes in the neurones which were seen under microscopic examination
would have required more than one hour between injury and death to have
Page 64 David Flynn.
“On being asked about a number of specific issues, David Flynn denied any
knowledge about Fr. Molloy’s watch, about the broken glass table, about any safe
in the house, about any life insurance policy Fr. Molloy may have had, or about the
break in at Fr. Molloy’s home.”
Page 65 David Flynn.
“On the 19th of December 2012, David Flynn again met Detective Superintendent
Mangan on a voluntary basis in order to clarify some outstanding matters. Mr. Flynn
explained that, despite saying in April 2011 that he had no knowledge about the
broken coffee table he could now offer some assistance; he said that his sister LL
still had this table and that it had been broken either at the wedding or just after
it by a BBB, who had been about 20 years old at the time. However, it seems that
BBB never made a statement.”
Page 94 Doctor Francesca Brett.
“On the 1st of June 2011, Professor Dermot Hourihane, who had been assisting the
Molloy family with expert advice on histopathology, sent to the family solicitor a
report from Dr. Francesca Brett, a Consultant Neuropathologist at Beaumont
Hospital in Dublin. In Dr. Brett’s report, dated the 24th of May 2011, which was
based on her perusal of stained slides, she concluded that the red dead neurones in
Fr. Molloy’s hippocampus, cortex and brain stem indicated survival of between 6
and 12 hours. Dr. Brett also concluded that an area of ischaemic damage in the
brain stem was suggestive of a survival of up to 24 hours.” Appendix 6.
Page 95 Doctor Michael Farrell
“It appears that, as part of the SCRT investigation, a report was also
commissioned from Dr. Michael Farrell, also a Consultant Neuropathologist at
Beaumont Hospital. It was Dr. Farrell to whom the State Pathologist, Dr. John
Harbison, had deferred when he was invited in 1989 to comment on the time of
“Dr. Farrell examined the photographs which had been taken of Fr. Molloy’s
cranium, in a report dated the 16th of August 2012, stated that, although the skull
appeared to be intact, there were several different areas which showed evidence of
bleeding. A microscopic examination of representative brain slides demonstrated
patchy but established dark cell change involving certain neurones. Dr. Farrell’s
interpretation of this was that it indicated that the deceased had been alive
following the injury for a number of hours prior to his death. He concluded there are
considerable variations in the timing of dark cell change but nevertheless most will
agree that a patient needs to have been alive for 3 to 6 hours prior to
establishment of dark cell change.”
“One of the matters which Thomas Monaghan recalled was that, at the time of
the 1985 investigation, an explanation had been given for the broken coffee table
which had been discovered in a downstairs room at Kilcoursey House; that two
children who were at the wedding had accidentally damaged it. Although Mr.
Monaghan remembered that statements had been taken from these two children,
any such statements appear no longer to be in existence. This appears to
contradict the assertion by David Flynn that the coffee table was broken by a
guest at the wedding called BBB who, he thought, was about 20 years old at the
Page 99 Fr. Molloy’s Will.
“The SCRT made enquiries with the army authorities, because of Fr. Molloy’s
former position as Chaplain, and because it had been suggested in the article that
the army, having received the will from Fr. Molloy, had sent it to the offices of the
Bishop of Elphin. These enquires revealed that no military records existed to
show that the army had ever had sight or possession of a will belonging to Fr.
Molloy or that any such document was sent on elsewhere. Further, when asked
about this in February 2013, the Diocesan Secretary in Sligo confirmed that the
office of the Diocese of Elphin had no will belonging to the late Fr. Molloy and
that there was no record that such a will had ever been deposited there.”
Page 104 Commentary.
“The calm attitude of Richard Flynn when the Gardai arrived at Kilcoursey
House is a feature of the case which many would find inexplicable.”
Page 105 Commentary continued.
“It is suspicious that the business dealings which were ongoing between the
Flynns and Fr. Molloy were not revealed to the authorities at the outset of the
Garda investigation and only came to light subsequently.”
“It is an uncomfortable fact that the Judge at Richard Flynn’s trial, Judge Frank
Roe, was deeply involved in the horse business, which was something he had in
common with Richard and Theresa Flynn and with Fr. Niall Molloy.”
Page 107 Commentary continued.
“Questions have been raised about the existence of a Will drawn up by Fr. Molloy.
Although suggestions were made that a Will had been entrusted to the Church, the
available evidence shows that, in fact, there is no record whatsoever of any such
document ever having being made. “ Appendix 9.
Page 100 Shortcomings in the 1985 Investigation.
“It was the opinion of the SCRT:
1. that there ought to have been a comprehensive canvassing of the guests who
attended the wedding on the 6th of July 1985 with a view to interviewing
2. that house to house enquiries should have been conducted;
3. that the break in at Fr. Molloy’s home should have been properly
4. that the people mentioned by David Flynn in his original statement should
have been interviewed at an early stage to test the veracity of his account
5. that Fr. Molloy’s wrist watch should not have been returned to the Molloy
family without a proper investigation of its condition”
“The SCRT report also expressed concern about the fact that Dr. John Harbison
placed reliance on a colleague’s opinion on neuropathological issues but that the
Gardai at the time did not seek a Report from that colleague. It was established
that Dr. Harbison had been in contact with Dr. Michael Farrell, who when asked by
the SCRT, compiled a Report suggesting that Fr. Molloy had lived for 3 to 6
hours after sustaining the injuries. Had this opinion being sought in 1985, a
different complexion would have been placed on the accounts given by members
of the Flynn family and it can be assumed that more questions would have been
asked.” Appendices 7 and 8.
“There are additional shortcomings which have become apparent as a result of the
objective reading of the documents in the case. It would have been of benefit for:
1. Fr. James Deignan to have been more closely questioned about why he felt
that it was more important for him to return home to collect his reading glasses
rather than to summon a Doctor or the Gardai to Kilcoursey House.
2. The absence of any statement from the Solicitor, PP, about the business
transactions between Fr. Molloy and the Flynn’s is a significant omission, as
is the lack of any information from Richard and Theresa Flynn about
3. Further, notwithstanding that blood samples were taken from the scene
and from members of the Flynn family,
4. That various physical items were taken from the principal bedroom and
from other rooms in the house,
5. That numerous fingerprints were located in the bedroom,
6. And that all of these samples and findings were transmitted to the State
Forensic Science Laboratory presumably with a view to try to ascertain who
had been in the bedroom and elsewhere, there is a complete absence of any
record of any scientific testing of the samples taken during the examination
of the scene.”
INDEX OF APPENDICES.
1. Bedroom at Kilcoursey House showing partially cleaned bloodstain.
2. Page 3 of Deposition of Dr. Michael Harbison.
3. Father Niall Molloy deceased.
4. Report of Professor Dermot Hourihane 20/10/1987.
5. Report of Dr. Francesca Brett Consultant Neuropathologist 24/05/2011.
6. File extract from PP Solicitor.
7. Page 7 of Deposition of Dr. Michael Harbison.
8. Page 21 of transcript of evidence of Dr. Michael Harbison.
9. Department of Defence letter re Will of Father Niall Molloy.
10. Criminal Law Act 1997.
11. Terms of Reference.
The following is a section from the McGinn Report page 64 in which David Flynn discussed his father’s business situation
“He confirmed that , as of July 1985, his father’s business situation was that he was “asset rich but cash poor “ but that , although times were tough, he had managed to keep the various businesses afloat”
The Flynn family never contacted my family. My cousin Suzannah called the house the morning we heard the sad news only to be informed by one of the Flynns that there had been “an accident “
My sister telephoned Kilcoursey and the woman she spoke to said they would call her back, she didn’t get a call.
The only public statement was made by David Flynn when he was interviewed on the RTE evening News after the Inquest. This clip has been shown on RTE numerous times over the years.It has been shown on Today Tonight, Scannal, and Prime Time.
In the clip, an RTÉ reporter asked David Flynn if his family had found it very difficult to handle the rumours and speculation surrounding the case.
He replied: “Extremely difficult. It’s very difficult, maybe, when one knows certain answers and isn’t in a position to comment. It makes it very difficult to live with.”
(You can watch this Prime Time clip on the internet at http://tinyurl.com/bb8myux).