Theresa Flynnn said ( Statement ) she had taken a sleeping tablet. Dr O’Sullivan said he gave her Valium at scene of murder. …………. Analysis of a blood sample taken from her that night recorded – No Barbiturates, Benzodiazephines, Salicylates, in analysis
A document which I and a Solicitor have recently seen which was written by a medical doctor states that he had been told about the circumstances of Fr Niall Molloy’s death.
I am not going to go into all the details at this stage but the Doctor’s statement is recorded at 3:15 p.m. on the 8/7/85.
The Doctor entered in his notes “Bizarre story ratified by checking again”
He twice mentions in his notes ” Murder of Priest ”
The Gardai were not notified of Niall’s death until a phone call was made to local Sergeant at about the same time
Fr Niall Molloy: ‘Truth out there’ as chapter in unsolved death closes
Relatives believe it is not too late to find answers; Man acquitted of 1985 manslaughter dies
Fr Niall Molloy who died at Clara Co Offaly in July 1985. ‘We don’t believe it’s too late, the truth is still out there,’ his nephew said.
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Drizzle fell as a stream of cars began to arrive on Monday into Tubberclair, near Athlone a half an hour before the funeral mass began.
Two hundred mourners had come to mark the passing of Richard Flynn, a man acquitted of assault and manslaughter of a priest in a trial that lasted less than a day, 30 years ago, which still remains controversial.
Mr Flynn’s daughter Sandra read William Butler Yeats’s The Lake Isle of Innisfree, while his grandchildren brought gifts at the start of the service, remembering his life.
They included a photograph to show his love of family, a rugby ball marking his passion for sport, an Irish language book for his love of Gaelic and a radio for his abiding interest in current affairs.
Later, the Galway-born native, who had lived into his 80s and died in a nursing home after a long illness, was laid to rest beside his late wife Therese in the cemetery adjacent to the church.
Mr Flynn’s passing closes another chapter in the unsolved killing of Fr Niall Molloy in 1985, though the priest’s relatives believe that the truth is still to be uncovered despite the passage of the years.
It was a case that shocked and fascinated: a priest found dead in the bedroom of a prominent business couple in 1985 was the stuff of popular soap operas, like Dynasty and Dallas, but not life in a rural village in the Irish midlands.
In the words of The Observer, one of many international titles to follow every twist and turn, it offered a “rich mix” of religion, high finance, horse breeding and even politics.
There, he went to Kilcoursey House, the home of his friends of three decades, Richard and Theresa Flynn to join in the revelries of a family wedding that had taken place the day before.
He was a frequent visitor to the 23-roomed Tudor-style home. The former Army Chaplain shared an interest in horses and show jumping with the Flynns, who owned and ran a number of businesses in the Midlands.
Within hours, however, the keen horseman was found dead in the house’s master bedroom: the exact time of death remains uncertain, like much else that night, but it was sometime between 10pm and the early hours of Monday.
His face was bloodied and bruised. His body showed no defensive marks. A long bloody dragmark on the white bedroom carpet suggested the body was moved. Blood smears and spatters were evident in the room and elsewhere.
Emergency services were never called. Medical evidence later suggested the priest may have been alive for several hours after the assault. Richard Flynn telephoned a now-deceased local priest at 1am to come and be prepared for an anointment.
It was after 3am before local gardai were alerted. By this time the family doctor, who like many others in the story is now dead, was at the house, as were other members of the Flynn family; Therese Flynn had been taken to hospital.
When questioned, Richard Flynn admitted he was the culprit. Charged subsequently with the manslaughter and assault of Fr Molloy the 47-year-old businessman was acquitted of all charges a year later.
In a trial that lasted less than four hours, Justice Frank Roe, then President of the Circuit Court, directed the jury to acquit. The medical evidence, Judge Roe said, was inconclusive and it would be improper to convict on Mr Flynn’s statement alone.
“It is a little bit unusual but not improper of me to say that no one intended any injury to be caused,” Judge Roe remarked. The acquittal came despite Garda concerns over monies owed to Fr Molloy after a land deal fell through.
A month later, a jury in an inquest decided, however, that that Fr Molloy had, in fact, died from head injuries, which prompted a public outcry and calls in political circles for the case to be re-examined.
In 1988 even more questions were raised when new medical evidence suggested that Fr Molloy had survived for a number of hours after the assault. In the years that followed there were a succession of yet more extraordinary twists and turns.
Files on the case were among a batch stolen from the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions in August 1987 – in a theft carried out, it is believed, by criminal, Martin Cahill, otherwise known as The General.
In 1988 Therese Flynn was linked to a fraudulent life insurance claim on Fr Molloy’s life but denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of the policy, which was eventually paid out to the Molloy family.
In 1994 there were claims that Judge Roe was known to both the Flynns and Fr Molloy and should not have heard the court case.
The case refused to go away. New medical evidence was brought to light in 1988 but nothing came of it at that time.
On a rare occasion, after the trial and inquest, when Mr Flynn spoke to one national newspaper, the Sunday Independent where he said his “conscience was clear” and that he had “never lost a moment’s sleep”.
Other features in the case begged questions about the Garda investigation, the criminal trial and, over two decades later, allegations of a ‘cover-up involving several arms of the state’.
In response to these allegations and new witnesses coming forward, the Garda Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) embarked on a review of the case in 2010 and spent two and a half years re-interviewing witnesses and reconsidering evidence. The inquiry, however, did not result in any new prosecutions.
And in March 2015 the Government ruled out the prospect of a public inquiry. A senior barrister appointed to review the SCRT findings concluded that an inquiry was unlikely to establish the truth.
“It is unlikely given the passage of time, the death of many of the pertinent witnesses and the reluctance of others voluntarily to give evidence, that any further inquiry would have a reasonable prospect of establishing the truth,” senior counsel, Dominic McGinn said.
Acknowledging that there were many “disturbing” features and matters of public concern, McGinn’s inquiry also pointed to serious failings by gardaí in their investigation.
Despite Richard Flynn’s passing, the Molloy family continues to pursue a full commission of investigation: “We don’t believe it’s too late, the truth is still out there. Individuals with vital information relating to Fr Niall’s death are still alive and there is still new evidence emerging,” Bill Maher, a nephew of Fr Molloy’s said.
“As far as the family is concerned the case is far from over. There are too many shortcomings and glaring inconsistencies to ignore and we will continue to push for a full independent investigation,” he added
However, the McGinn report did put to bed some of the theories that abounded since the death. Frank Roe’s directed acquittal was “extraordinary”, but it was within the law.
The 109-page report also found no documentary evidence to substantiate claims that the judge, a popular figure in racing circles who passed away in 2003, was known to the Flynns, or to Fr Molloy.
Nevertheless, the outstanding questions are numerous. Why did gardaí not interview guests who attended the Flynn wedding on July 6th? Why were no door-to-door enquiries carried out?
Why was a break-in at Fr Molloy’s house not investigated? Why was Fr Molloy’s broken watch returned to his family without being investigated? Why was a medical report that could have placed “a different complexion” on the case not sought?
Why was a statement from Fr Molloy’s solicitor in relation to a land deal with the Flynn’s not included in the investigation? Thirty one years have passed, and the Molloys are closer to answers.
In July 2015, relatives of Fr Molloy met with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to raise their concerns over the McGinn-identified shortcomings, where they shared graphic photographic evidence of injuries suffered by Fr Molloy.
The family have since taken a case against the police force for ‘neglect of duty’ in the 1985 investigation. The complaint is currently being investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
“The McGinn report and the Serious Crime Review Team identified numerous breaches of procedures in the original investigation, where many basic enquiries or checks were not carried out,” Mr Maher, a nephew of Fr Molloy’s said.
“There are still too many unanswered questions. We want a full investigation into all aspects of Fr Niall’s death, from day one onwards, including the Garda investigation or lack thereof and we will continue to push for that,” he added.
On Page 17 of the McGinn Report under the heading
3.4 Statements Made by members of the Flynn Family Mr McGinn states that ” Perhaps unsurprisingly, these statements are entirely consistent with each other”
Mr McGinn does not explain why the statement of May Quinn , a family member who resided in the house, was not included with other family statements handed to the Gardai on July 15th. There is no record of when her actual statement was given to the Gardai.
That is not so and in fact there are inconsistencies and contradictions on times and movements of people. Coupled with the medical evidence from various experts these statements are very much in doubt.
In fact there are contradictions all over the place when you compare all the statements given to the Gardai. Obviously no one has ever bothered to examine them in detail.
It is actually quite appaling that all the people Gardai, Legal people, & Journalists never bothered to examine all the statements in any detail at all. The exception being Gary Agnew from RTE who almost 30 years ago mentioned conflicting statements in an Today Tonight report which can be seen on YouTube
30 years ago today, 8th July 1985, Niall was badly beaten and left to die over a number of hours. While he was dying a number of people scarpered away from the scene while others were busy trying to clean up and cover up.
A Mass will be celebrated this evening in Castlecoote by Niall’s Nephew Fr Billy Molloy
THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE WILL CONTINUE
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.