‘Reclusive’ woman whose body was found in Cork was dead less than a year, gardaí believe

Receipt for groceries dated June 2023 dispels fears she had been dead for three years

Gardaí investigating the death of a 58-year-old woman whose remains were found earlier this week in the family home in Cork where she lived alone now believe the woman may have been dead for just under a year.

Officers investigating the discovery of the body of Joyce O’Mahony at the family home at Elmsleigh, Brookfield Lawn, The Lough, initially thought that she may have died some time in 2021, the last time she was seen in public.

“We carried out door-to-door inquiries in the estate and one of the neighbours reported seeing her around September 2021 so initially we thought that the poor woman could have been dead going on for three years,” said a garda source.

However, gardaí carrying out a technical examination of the semidetached two-storey house found a receipt for groceries from SuperValu on nearby Togher Road dating from June 2023. They also found a copy of the Irish Examiner dated November 11th, 2022, in the woman’s kitchen.


Gardaí have ruled out foul play in Ms O’Mahony’s death following a postmortem examination.

Ms O’Mahony’s three older siblings, sister Jakki and brothers Peter and Paul, will be the chief mourners at a private funeral service for her in Cork.

Ms O’Mahony attended Scoil Mhuire Girls’ Secondary School on Wellington Road in the city, completing her Leaving Certificate in 1984. Many of her classmates from then paid tribute to her on rip.ie last week.

“So sorry to hear of the passing of Joyce in such sad circumstances. Remembering fun times together in Scoil Mhuire. You were the only person I knew who ironed her hair. May you find peace now,” posted one former classmate.

“So very sorry to hear of the tragic circumstances surrounding Joyce’s passing. Joyce was in Scoil Mhuire in a lovely class who met for a 40th reunion last Saturday – a good few attempts were made to reach Joyce – who had attended the 20th reunion on a visit home from London.

“Many of us were in primary with Joyce too (same school) – hard to understand how this ending came to be, but she is fondly remembered and there has been a huge outpouring on our reunion website of grief and sadness at the news yesterday,” another posted.

Ms O’Mahony returned to Cork from London in about 2010 to care for her mother following the death of her father, Dr Timothy O’Mahony. Her mother, Patricia, died in 2021 from Covid.

Gardaí have established from their inquiries with locals that Ms O’Mahony was rarely seen in public, with many assuming she had returned to London following the death of her mother.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times