Po­lice seek­ing phone records to find out if slain teacher had been in con­tact with his mur­derer

Irish Independent - - News - Robin Schiller

DE­TEC­TIVES are try­ing to re­motely ac­cess in­for­ma­tion on the miss­ing phone of Ir­ish­man John Cur­ran to see if he was con­tacted by his killer.

A mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the char­ity worker’s death in South Africa is on­go­ing, with a num­ber of lines of in­quiry be­ing pur­sued.

The 60-year-old re­tired prin­ci­pal was found with mul­ti­ple stab wounds at his apart­ment in Buiten­gracht Street, Cape Town, at 10.30am on Wed­nes­day.

The Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent has learned that homi­cide de­tec­tives are try­ing to re­motely ac­cess in­for­ma­tion on Mr Cur­ran’s phone, which has been miss­ing since his mur­der.

The phone – which was bought just hours be­fore­hand – was the only item taken from his home.

This led of­fi­cers to be­lieve he was mur­dered over a rob­bery for the phone.

Capt Ezra Oc­to­ber said that ex­am­i­na­tions of the de­vice may de­ter­mine if Mr Cur­ran was con­tacted by his killer be­fore he was bru­tally mur­dered, which could help iden­tify the per­pe­tra­tor.

It has also emerged that a blood­stained knife used in the mur­der of the re­tired school prin­ci­pal was found at the scene.

Fin­ger­prints from the weapon have been re­cov­ered, which will help Cape Town de­tec­tives iden­tify the mur­der sus­pect.

CCTV footage of a man flee­ing the apart­ment com­plex is al­ready a main fac­tor of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but Capt Oc­to­ber did not con­firm if a chief sus­pect has been for­mally iden­ti­fied.

A post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion of Mr Cur­ran’s re­mains was due to take place yes­ter­day, but has been post­poned un­til Mon­day due to ca­pac­ity is­sues at the city morgue.

While lo­cal po­lice be­lieve he died from mul­ti­ple stab wounds, they want to de­ter­mine if he suf­fered other in­juries dur­ing the at­tack.

His body was for­mally iden­ti­fied by a col­league on Thurs­day.

It is be­lieved he was stay­ing in the Cape Town apart­ment while on a hol­i­day in re­cent weeks, hav­ing com­pleted his con­tract with a South-African based non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Sad­ness

The Mel­lon Ed­u­cate char­ity, with whom Mr Cur­ran worked for two years, has paid trib­ute to the “much-loved” Dublin man.

“With great sad­ness we learned yes­ter­day that our dear col­league and friend John Cur­ran was killed dur­ing a rob­bery in his apart­ment in Cape Town South Africa,” a state­ment from the char­ity read.

“John only re­cently com­pleted a two-year con­tract as di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion for Mel­lon Ed­u­cate in South Africa and was stay­ing on va­ca­tion in Cape Town for a num­ber of weeks.”

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Niall Mel­lon also ex­pressed his sad­ness at the mur­der and said they were help­ing Mr Cur­ran’s fam­ily.

“I know our many vol­un­teers and sup­port­ers will be very sad to hear this tragic news. John was much loved by ev­ery­one who met him and es­pe­cially by the thou­sands of chil­dren he helped dur­ing his time with Mel­lon Ed­u­cate,” he said.

“We are as­sist­ing his fam­ily in ev­ery way we can and your warm wishes of em­pa­thy are sin­cerely ap­pre­ci­ated.”

He con­firmed the char­ity’s ‘build­ing blitz’ will still take place from Novem­ber 17-24.

In a state­ment, the De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs said it was aware of the sit­u­a­tion and pro­vid­ing con­sular as­sis­tance.

Mr Cur­ran was pre­de­ceased by his son Eoin, who died in a sail­ing ac­ci­dent in New York in 2010. He is sur­vived by his wife Liz, their chil­dren Dar­ragh, Tri­ona and Donal, six grand-chil­dren and his two sis­ters.

Be­fore mov­ing to South Africa, he was heav­ily in­volved with the Ir­ish Pri­mary Prin­ci­pals Net­work who de­scribed him as a highly es­teemed col­league and friend.

‘I know our many vol­un­teers will be very sad to hear this tragic news’

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