Daughter of murdered Limerick man tells of heartbreaking loss on his 14th anniversary

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Story David Raleigh. The funeral of Jeffrey Hannan leaving the Holy Family church in Southill, Limerick. A few days after he was beaten to death with an axe. Photograph Press 22.

by David Raleigh

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The daughter of a young man who was beaten to death with an axe, today paid a poignant tribute to her father on the 14th anniversary of his killing.

Nikita Hannan (15) said Christmas has never been the same since her father Jeffrey Hannan was bludgeoned to death on November 22, 2007.

Mr Hannan (19) had no links whatsoever to crime and was attacked at a bonfire after attending a house party near his home in O’Malley Park, Southill.

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Garda Headquarters and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman (GSOC) are examining extremely serious allegations that a detective garda withheld a witness statement from the garda investigation team that identified Jeffrey Hannan’s alleged killer.

It’s alleged the detective, who was not part of the murder investigation team, withheld the statement in order to protect an informant.

“There’s nothing worse than looking down on you in a grave when you should be with me getting me Christmas presents, I hate Christmas because nothing is ever going to be the same, Christmas isn’t Christmas no more because you’re not here,” said Nikita Hannan.

“I was your baby girl, I’m falling apart without you, I wish you could hold me in your arms again,” she added in an online post.

The heartbroken teenager addressed her late father: “Why can’t all this be a dream, there’s so much hurt and pain, no one will understand the pain to wake up every morning knowing I won’t see your smile, the pain in my heart is never going to leave, not a day goes by I don’t think about you or mention your name, I’m so proud to call you my Daddy, so many people loved you.”

Nikita Hannan said her father’s killer “tore my family to shreds” and “took my Daddy away”.

A file photo of Nikita Hannan whose dad Jeffrey was murdered on 22nd November 2007. Photograph sent by Press 22

The claims against the detective were the subject of two separate internal garda probes, however the garda retired while they were appealing the findings of one of the internal probes, therefore ending the disciplinary process as it only applies to serving members of the force.

The retired garda has not been arrested and the claims against them remain unproven.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman (GSOC), are separately examining the allegations.

They are also examining complaints by the victim’s father, Alan Hannan, about the pace of the 14-year old murder probe, and the lack of progress in the long-running investigation.

Making a fresh appeal for information, Alan Hannan said: “I know there are people who witnessed what happened to Jeffrey and who know who murdered him, and I would appeal to them again to examine their conscience and pass on the information now, please.”

Mr Hannan said he is optimistic the efforts of Garda Headquarters and GSOC may bring him justice for his son.

 A file photo of Jeffrey Hannan, Limerick. Jeffrey was brutally beaten to death with an axe in O’Malley Park in the early hours of November 22, 2007.
Picture Press 22

Retired detective Sean Lynch, who was part of the initial garda team that investigated Jeffrey Hannan’s murder, appealed for witnesses help to gardaí bring the killer to justice.

Mr Lynch, a former Mayor of the Metropolitan District of Limerick, praised the efforts of his “dedicated” colleagues who “brought this investigation so far”, and urged garda management to set up a “southern regional garda cold case unit to bring fresh eyes to the case”.

“What is needed more than anything is a substantial witness to come forward,” said Mr Lynch.

Mr Lynch said that a “regional team of independent gardaí liaising with the dedicated members of the initial investigation team, reviewing, re-examining, and re-interviewing people if necessary, is what this needs”.

Mr Lynch directly appealed to Jeffrey Hannan’s killer to give themselves up to gardaí “because with the advancements in forensics and DNA technology – there was a lot of evidence gathered at the scene – the knock on the door will eventually come for them, and they should present themselves before that happens”.

“This case is not going away until it is solved,” Mr Lynch said.