Gardaí identify human remains found in derelict house in Mallow

Tim O’Sullivan lived a reclusive life in the Beecher Street house, with locals assuming he had returned to the UK

One woman, Jacqueline Gilligan and her daughter, Katelyn had come from their home in Castlemagner near Kanturk for an appointment in Mallow but when they were in the town, they decided to buy  some flowers and leave them at the house as a mark of sympathy for the deceased. Body may have been in Mallow house for 20 years. Pic: Barry Roche

Gardaí have identified the human remains found in a house in Mallow in North Cork after getting a positive match with records from a local dentist who had treated the house owner over 20 years ago.

Investigators are satisfied that the skeletal remains found in a bedroom in the single-story terraced house on Beecher Street in Mallow are those of the last registered owner of the property, Tim O’Sullivan, who bought it in 1989 after he returned from the UK.

Mr O’Sullivan was born in Co Kerry on September 29th 1939, and was in his late 50s or early 60s when he dropped off the radar in the early 2000s from the property on Beecher Street where he lived a reclusive life, often suffering from mental health issues that required hospitalisation.

Locals on Beecher Street had assumed that Mr O’Sullivan, who spoke with an English accent, had either returned to the UK where he had lived for many years or had gone for treatment to St Stephen’s Hospital at Glanmire in Cork when they no longer saw him around the property.


Mr O’Sullivan’s skeletal remains were discovered under a duvet on a bed in the house by two Cork County Council staff when they entered the boarded up derelict property last Friday to block up shores and openings after the council received complaints of rodent infestation.

Mr O’Sullivan’s remains were removed to the morgue at Cork University Hospital where Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster carried out a postmortem on Saturday which confirmed that Mr O’Sullivan had not died a violent death or been the victim of foul play.

Gardaí then began the task of trying to identify the remains and began checking with local dentists if any of them had treated the owner of the property, Mr O’Sullivan and had dental records for him which could be compared with the details of dental work noted by Dr Bolster at postmortem.

It’s understood that gardaí obtained a positive match for Mr O’Sullivan at a local dentist in Mallow on Tuesday and they had also traced some of Mr O’Sullivan’s relatives in Cahersiveen from whom they could have obtained DNA samples to compare with DNA samples taken at postmortem.

Meanwhile garda technical experts in the course of examining the derelict house found a container of butter in the fridge with an expiry date of 2001 which led investigators to believe that the deceased, now identified as Mr O’Sullivan, had been dead for over 20 years.

The house, which Mr O’Sullivan bought in 1989, subsequently fell into disrepair and according to one source, the two windows were boarded up several years ago when youngsters started throwing stones at the property, but The Irish Times has not been able to establish who did the boarding up.

Gardaí will now prepare a file on Mr O’Sullivan’s death including Dr Bolster’s findings at postmortem and witness statements from locals on Beecher Street and health professionals who had dealings with Mr O’Sullivan for an inquest at the North Cork Coroner’s Court later this year.

Meanwhile Cork County Council has confirmed to The Irish Times that the house was in private ownership and that the council had attempted to identify the property owner by way of title registration searches and most recently by way of affixing an “appeal notice” on the property.

However, the Council said in its statement that these efforts proved unsuccessful in identifying the owner as the property is unregistered while the council also said that it had no information about the boarding up of the house’s two front windows and front door letter box.

Cork County Council said it had initiated the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process and in 2022 took the initial steps of serving statutory notices on the property under the Derelict Sites Act where details were included on the derelict sites register.

Further steps were planned with respect to serving further statutory notices as per legislative requirements. The CPO has not progressed beyond this initial stage, said the council before extending its sympathies to the family of the late Mr O’Sullivan.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times