16-year-old boy came across the murder scene in laneway on way home#

The scene off St. John's Lane, Athy, where Mr. Keane died. Photo: Robert Redmond
A 16-year-old boy, who stumbled onto the scene of a gruesome laneway attack on a 56-year-old man on Thursday night, described how the victim’s cane was lying beside his frail body.

A 16-year-old boy, who stumbled onto the scene of a gruesome laneway attack on a 56-year-old man on Thursday night, described how the victim’s cane was lying beside his frail body.

The teenager, who wished not to be named, was walking home from town at around 11.45pm last Thursday night, when he happened upon local man Larry Keane lying unconscious in St John’s Lane way.

Mr Keane, a well-known dissident Republican, suffered severe wounds to his head and was pronounced dead at 5am on Friday, July 19 in Naas General Hospital.

“I was walking home from town,” he said speaking to the Leinster Leader on Friday morning.

“I was going down the lane when I met a lad I know who was on the phone to the gardai at the time. He warned me not to go up and said there was a dead body - I thought he was only messing.

I went up and he was lying on the ground. He looked stone dead. There was blood all over his face and his cane was lying beside him.”

The teenager’s father, who had seen the victim earlier that night sitting in his usual spot near the bridge, said it was ‘unbelievable’.

“He was well known around here,” he said.

“He never done anyone any harm. It’s unbelievable. He wasn’t an alcoholic, he never took drugs. He had a bad car accident a few years ago and it must have affected him. But if you walked past him where he sat every day near the bridge he would always talk to you. I just knew him to say hello. He was a harmless guy. He was born and bred in the Barracks Yard. I’d seen him at 10.30pm that night sitting on the bridge where he always sat.

“I said to him once, ‘Larry when you’re dead and gone they are going to put a monument here to you,’ as he sat there so often. He took it as a laugh. It is a sad way to go. He was probably lured to his death. I’m 35 years living here and I’ve have never had any trouble with the lane until last night (Thursday). My daughters rang to say ‘daddy don’t go home that way’ but I took a nosey up and was stopped by the Gardai. I was then told ‘you’re better off going the long way home this is not a nice scene’.”

Local town councillor Richard Daly said the council’s sympathies are with Mr Keane’s family. “It is a tragedy. We’ve been bedevilled by a couple of vicious tragedies this year.”

- Paula Campbell