Body lay undiscovered in bathroom for 19 days

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THE dead body of a missing Ennis man was kept for 19 days in a friend’s apartment last summer, a court has heard. 

Ennis Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday how Bernard Flaherty (38) wrapped the body of Frank Hassett in plastic and placed him in the shower after he died in Mr Flaherty’s apartment at 3 Lifford Lodge sometime between the hours of June 14 and 15, 2011. 

Mr Hassett (25) had been reported missing to gardaí in Ennis by his family on June 20, 2011.

The court heard how Mr Hassett’s disappearance sparked a major garda investigation. 

Gardaí interviewed 40 people and took 17 statements. Up to 14 gardaí were involved in the search while 50 hours of CCTV footage were viewed. In total, the court heard, 837 hours of garda time were spent on the investigation. 

Members of the Hassett family and local civil defence volunteers also conducted numerous searches of the River Fergus. 

In September, Mr Flaherty pleaded guilty to making a false statement at Ennis Garda Station on June 24, 2011. Mr Hassett had been missing for six days when his family contacted gardaí. 

Gardaí called to Mr Flaherty’s apartment on June 24. Sgt Houlihan told the court that Mr Flaherty requested that the interview take place at the garda station. 

Sgt Houilhan said another man was also living in the apartment at the time. She said there was no evidence to believe this man knew Mr Hassett’s body was in the apartment.   

Mr Flaherty told gardaí he last saw Mr Hassett at 8.10pm outside MT Pocket’s Pub, Lifford on June 14. 

Sgt Houlihan said the accused claimed that Mr Hassett had spoken of a row with his uncle in Cork. Sgt Houlihan said he also nominated the names of another local person and that of Mr Hassett’s girlfriend. 

She said, “He had cast a serious shadow over the girlfriend of Frankie.” Sgt Houlihan added, “This caused her family great distress and also to the Hassett family.”

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