ON the morning of November 22, 2007, Alan Hannan left his Southill home to walk to work on a local community enterprise scheme.
He left the house a little earlier than usual because his 19-year old son Jeffrey, who had been out at a bonfire the previous night, hadn’t returned home.
Unknown to Alan, Jeffrey lay dead a few yards away as he walked past the ash circle of disintegrated embers still smoking from the previous night’s bonfire.
A few hours earlier, Jeffrey, who had no criminals links, had been savagely attacked.
The doting father to his one-year-old daughter Nikita, and who was looking forward to the birth of his second daughter Tianna, had been hit across the head a number of times with an axe handle.
He was also savagely kicked before being dragged across a green and dumped by a wall, just a few yards from his family home.
His heartbroken father stares into the distance as he recalls that tragic morning, twelve years ago.
“He wasn’t in bed, so I got up that morning and went out looking for him. I actually passed his body in the green area where he was found. Jeffrey’s body was dumped about fifty yards from our house,” Alan tells the Limerick Post.
“I don’t think it happened to him where he was found, because there was a trail of blood going over the green area from the path. You could see the drag mark on the ground, so he wasn’t killed at the spot where he was found.”
Alan walked on to work, only to return to the estate after a sense of dread, “that something felt wrong” overwhelmed him.
He identified Jeffrey’s body as it lay on the green after a Garda arrived on the scene.
“I just went numb, I went into shock, I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. I can’t describe it. It’s like your heart is torn out and part of you is dead too.”
Many in Southill know who killed Jeffrey Hannan, but, perhaps mainly out of fear, they have yet to come forward with the information that would solve the case.
In 2014, despite one potentially key witness providing Gardaí with information – which specifically led to the re-arrest and questioning of six people – no one has been charged with Jeffrey’s murder.
Yet Alan Hannan remains hopeful that fresh information may have come to light recently, after Gardaí undertook a complete review of the investigation last July.
As that investigation continues, the nature of Jeffrey’s death continues to haunt his loved ones.
“It doesn’t leave me, from the time I close my eyes at night to the time I get up in the morning, it is always there,” Alan says.
On the morning of the murder, local sources told him who had killed his son but it was six weeks before the initial arrests were made in the case.
More than 20 people have been questioned, yet no one has been charged.
Knowing who murdered his son is “like living in a hell”, Alan declares.