THE SATANIC MURDER IRELAND FORGOT by Donal MacIntyre, Sunday World, 30 May 2011

Donal MacIntyre Investigates

This is the shocking document* that reveals the full horror of the satanic slaying of a six-year-old boy, in the murder that Ireland forgot.

The 38-year-old autopsy report, published here for the first time, details the brutal, ritual murder of little John Horgan at the hands of his 16-year-old babysitter.

The boy was lured away in a Jamie Bulger-style murder by his older neighbour on June 14 1973. He was bludgeoned to death and crucified to the attic roof of a family home near Lucan, west Dublin.

A chalice with Holy Communion hosts was found in the room with the body. It was a crime that so shocked the nation that it was quickly rushed through the legal system and has hardly been reported on since.

At the time murders were rare, but the killing of a child by a teenager in a satanic slaughter was incomprehensible to a shocked public.


However, in the rush to forget the horror, an inquest was never formally held to issue a death certificate. It finally took place in Dublin’s Coroners court this week.

The Sunday World can reveal that the case was brought back to light after an investigative journalist began researching it for a shocking new book, The Boy in the Attic.

We have also learned that the satanic teenage killer, who was never named because of his age, has found God. He is now living in the UK and is closely involved in a church community. He was deeply obsessed with Satanism at the time he carried out the murder.

This exclusive copy of the original autopsy report reveals the horrific death little John suffered at the hands of his 16-year-oldneighbour in Hollyville, Lucan Road, Palmerston, Dublin.

The long-forgotten autopsy report by Professor Maurice Hickey was conducted the day after the murder and makes for disturbing reading.


GRISLY: The murder of John Horgan in the village of Hollyville shocked the nation, but the case was rushed through the legal system and has hardly been reported on

It gives a nightmarish picture of the events which took place in the then village setting of Hollyville, a small terrace of late 1960s houses which were then on the main road from Dublin to Sligo, just a couple of hundred metres from the site of Kings Hospital school.

The then state pathologist Dr Hickey, who died in 1999, writes that the body was a boy of light build, measuring just 4ft and half an inch.

“There were no clothes on the body when I saw it. A cloth belt was tied around the neck and lower face above the lower lip; string was looped around the head; a robe was tied to both wrists.

“The back of the head and upper portion of the back of the neck were swollen and bruised.There were multiple bruises on the shoulders and neck and also on the shins of the dead boy.”

Dr Hickey, who became State pathologist in 1959, also writes that the back of the skull was shattered into many small fragments. He notes that that there was no evidence of any sexual assault.

Included in the report was the line that was disclosed this week, when an inquest was held 38 years after the ritual slaying.

Dr Hickey’s determination of the cause of death, was: “In my opinion due to the fracture of the skull and contusion and laceration of the brain resulting from a severe blunt force or injuries to the head”.

John Horgan was reported missing on the afternoon of June 14. Just after midnight he was discovered tied to the rafters of the attic in what appeared to be a satanic ritual death. A silver chalice with three communion hosts was found in the room.


His 16-year-old neighbour, and his babysitter that day, was returned for trial at the Central Criminal Court, where he was convicted and detained at St Patrick’s Institution for juveniles.

Detective Richard McDonnell told this week’s inquest that a young man was convicted and served a custodial sentence. The Coroner, Dr Kieran Geraghty, told the reconvened inquest this week that the perpetrator remains on license living outside the jurisdiction.

As a juvenile, the convicted murderer’s name was not reported at the time. Following the death on June 14, 1973, a shocked community struggled to deal with the horror – and then tried to forget about the terrible events.

So rushed and traumatic were the circumstances of the crime that it appears that even the legal responsibilities were forgotten in a bout of institutional amnesia, only to be resurrected by an in-depth investigation of the case by an intrepid journalist.

The award-winning former BBC journalist and former producer of the Late Late Show David Malone, commenced researching the

case about a year ago. He has written a book on the forgotten murder which is due out in the autumn.

He has refused to comment on his investigation, but it is understood that in researching the book, the award-winning journalist

discovered that the original inquest in 1973, which was adjourned temporarily, was in fact never reconvened.

Mr Malone is understood to have contacted the Coroner’s office early this year and advised them that the disturbing case of the gruesome ritual murder was still open.

It is a legal requirement that every death is recorded and registered with the state, but because the inquest was adjourned a death certificate was never issued for the seven year-old.


The inquest was revived this week 38 years after it was adjourned, but few details were revealed.

The inquest, in front of County Coroner Kieran Geraghty, heard that Detective Inspector Richard McDonnell from Lucan Garda station contacted the Horgan family after he was requested to prepare a new inquest file following the discovery of the omission to complete the original inquest and issue a death certificate.

“I contacted the family of John Horgan, who indicated they did not wish to revisit a very traumatic period in their lives and reopen old wounds,” Detective McDonnell said.

The Horgan family were not present at the inquest and were unavailable for comment.

David Malone’s book – outlined on his publisher’s website, ‘Mainstream Publishing’ – paints a picture of what occurred on that fateful day.

“On a bright sunny June afternoon a seven-year-old only child was left in the care of a teenage neighbour. No-one would have dreamed of suspecting that the older boy was a Satanist. The two went out to the fields to look for rabbits. The seven-year-old was

never seen alive again”.

In his book, entitled The Boy in the Attic, he promises to reveal the exact events of that summer day – how the innocent youngster was

lured to his death, how his killer came to delve so deeply into the occult, and the nightmarish scene awaiting police when they entered the attic.

Malone says that there is another equally disturbing question – how is it that this murder, which was easily the most shocking and

horrific in a nation’s living memory, was barely reported at all and has since been completely forgotten?

The shocking events of that day still haunt the family of the dead boy and all those who came into contact with the case.

It is a measure of the gruesome and terrifying events of the case that it still disturbs our sensibilities so many years later.



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