Sister of man whose skeletal remains were found in Mallow house had gone to property looking for him

Tim O’Sullivan’s sister visited north Cork town sometime in 2000s but was told he had gone back to United Kingdom

The sister of a man whose body lay in a derelict house in Mallow, north Cork, for more than 20 years had called to the property to try to find him but was told he had returned to the United Kingdom.

The family of Tim O’Sullivan knew that he had moved to Mallow in the late 1980s when his marriage in the UK broke up and when they failed to hear from him, his sister Noreen called to the house on Beecher’s Street in Mallow sometime in the 2000s when on a visit home from Australia.

“She called to the house in Mallow, but it was derelict, and she asked the neighbours and the people in the pub across the road, and they all said that they thought that he had gone to England – he had lived all his life in England and people thought he had gone back there,” a source said.

“The family did have contact with Tim in Mallow, but then they lost contact with him, and Noreen went looking for him but after talking to the people there on the street, she was convinced he had gone to England and tried looking for him there but to no avail and went back to Australia.”


It has emerged Mr O’Sullivan – who was born on September 29th 1939, in the UK – was the eldest of five children born to an Irish couple from Dromid, between Cahersiveen and Waterville in south Kerry who had emigrated to the UK in the 1930s.

Details remain sketchy as to where Mr O’Sullivan grew up in the UK, but The Irish Times has learned that he was the eldest of the couple’s three boys and two girls, all of whom were born in the UK. It is understood that Mr O’Sullivan was married in the UK but had no children.

One of Mr O’Sullivan’s sisters, Maureen, met another Dromid emigrant, Mikey ‘Shine’ O’Sullivan from Kilmackerin, when he was working with Murphy Construction in London in the 1960s and two years after they married in London on January 25th, 1969, they moved back to his home place in Dromid.

According to informed sources, the O’Sullivan family had no known ties with Mallow, and it is not clear why the late Mr O’Sullivan opted to move there when he separated from his wife in the UK in the late 1980s and bought the single-storey terraced house on Beecher Street in 1989.

Locals in Mallow described Mr O’Sullivan as a very private and reclusive individual, while it is also believed that he suffered from depression and had been hospitalised at St Stephen’s Hospital in Glanmire in Cork where he was treated for the illness.

Mr O’Sullivan’s skeletal remains were found under a duvet on a bed in the house on Beecher Street by two Cork County Council staff when they entered the boarded-up property last Friday to block up 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 Margaret Bolster carried out a postmortem on Saturday that confirmed Mr O’Sullivan had not died a violent death nor been the victim of foul play.

Gardaí then began checking with local dentists to see if any of them had dental records that could be compared with the dental work noted by Dr Bolster at postmortem. A positive match for Mr O’Sullivan was found at a local dentist in Mallow.

Gardaí had also traced Mr O’Sullivan’s relatives in Kerry and had them available to take DNA samples to compare to postmortem samples if they failed to find identifying dental records.

Gardaí found butter in the fridge with an expiry date of 2001, leading investigators to believe Mr O’Sullivan had been dead for over 20 years in the property.

The house fell into disrepair after Mr O’Sullivan’s death, and according to one source, the two windows were boarded up several years ago when youngsters started throwing stones at the property. 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 postmortem findings 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.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times