A murdered man lay dead for more than a week in the bedroom of a Dublin city flat which had become a meeting point for people to take drugs after a vulnerable tenant lost control of the property, gardaí believe.
The victim’s remains had started to decompose by the time the alarm was raised on Monday evening, with DNA testing and dental records required to confirm his identity.
The victim, Tony Dempsey (28), had sustained head injuries that were consistent with him having been violently assaulted.
Dempsey was from Dublin’s south inner city and had previously lived in Basin View, though it is understood he had resided at a number of addresses in the city and elsewhere in recent years.
Dempsey had been placed in care a number of times during his childhood and in his adulthood struggled with homelessness and addiction.
He was well known to gardaí, had served time in prison and had a large number of convictions, including for road traffic offences, theft, misuse of drugs, criminal damage and possession of knives and firearms.
His mother and sister had both died in the past two years.
Extended family members paid tribute to Dempsey in posts on social media on Tuesday night. A cousin said she was in “complete shock from the news”.
“Such a cruel world,” she wrote in a Facebook post, while another cousin said he would be “deeply missed”.
Posts from friends recalled “many good memories” with Dempsey and how he would “always make everyone laugh”.
Following the conclusion of a postmortem on his remains on Tuesday, the Garda investigation was upgraded to a murder inquiry.
The Peter McVerry Trust, which provides housing and other services to vulnerable people, said the apartment where the remains were found, at Kevin Barry House on Coleraine Street, Dublin 7, is managed by it under the Housing First programme for Dublin City Council.
“Staff visited the property daily, including over the weekend, and they had no indication or evidence that someone was deceased at the property or in the vicinity,” said Pat Doyle, chief executive of the trust, which said it was “saddened at the loss of a young life”.
The charity added the tenant of the flat in question was a vulnerable person who took on the tenancy more than 18 months ago.
However, the trust said the arrangement had begun to break down recently as the tenant “was struggling to manage the front door”. People who had “no interest in the property or the tenant’s recovery were gaining entry to and using the property”, it said.
There is no suggestion whatsoever that the tenant, who was homeless prior to moving into the property, is suspected in any way of being involved in the murder. Instead, the tenant had effectively lost control of the property which was being used as a meeting point for people to take drugs.
Gardaí investigating the murder have been told of people leaving and entering the flat at antisocial hours. When gardaí called there on Monday at about 6.30pm after the alarm was raised, a small group of people were in the flat and there were several callers to the door within a short period. The man’s remains were discovered in a bedroom in the ground-floor property.
Investigating gardaí from the Bridewell Garda station are focusing on identifying all of the people who had been in the flat over the previous 10 days.
The property, which was sealed off on Monday evening, has also undergone examination by the Garda Technical Bureau. Gardaí are hopeful that forensic evidence gathered during that examination, and from the dead man, will help them to identify the killer.