Investigation into death of man in Cobh following sword attack upgraded to murder inquiry

Postmortem results on body of Ian Baitson (33) confirm he died from injuries sustained in attack

Gardaí have formally upgraded their investigation into an attack on a young man in Cobh into a murder inquiry following the receipt of postmortem results. It is understood the results confirm the man died as a result of injuries sustained in an assault by a man armed with what is believed to have been a samurai sword.

Mr Baitson, a father of two, died on Tuesday afternoon at Cork University Hospital (CUH) where he had been on a ventilator following the sword attack in the Eurospar car park on Newtown Road in the Cork harbour town just before 9pm on Friday night.

Gardaí confirmed that a senior investigating officer has been put in charge of the case and that a family liaison officer has been appointed to Mr Baitson’s family.

Mr Baitson suffered a huge loss of blood when a vein in his leg was severed in the attack. Paramedics and an emergency medical consultant worked on him for about 40 minutes at the scene trying to stabilise him before he was brought to CUH.


He failed to regain consciousness after undergoing emergency surgery at the hospital. He had remained on a ventilator until his family made the decision on Tuesday to switch off the life support system. His organs were subsequently harvested for donation.

Gardaí are continuing to search for a suspect for the killing who they identified from CCTV footage of the shop’s car park. It shows Mr Baitson approaching a man in a car only for the man to get out of the car armed with a sword.

The CCTV shows the man swinging the sword at Mr Baitson, missing him with his first attempt before hitting him on the leg below the knee with his second swipe. The blow caused Mr Baitson to collapse where he lay bleeding as the man returned to his car and left the car park.

An incident room was set up in Cobh Garda station to co-ordinate the investigation and it is understood that gardaí searched two houses in Cobh town over the weekend and three on Tuesday to try to locate the suspect but he was not at any of the addresses.

Gardaí have refused to comment on a motive for the attack, but they believe that Mr Baitson knew his attacker and may have been in contact with him and had arranged to meet him at the car park.

Investigators have appealed for any witnesses to the assault to contact them and they are particularly anxious to speak to anyone with dash cam footage who was in the Newtown Road area at the time and the surrounding streets between 8.15pm and 9.15pm.

They have advised anyone who has any information that can assist them with their enquiries to contact them at Cobh Garda station on 021 4908530, or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times