Tag Archives: Lorcan Bale

John Horgan


Death notice for John Horgan in the Irish Independent of June 16, 1973,  giving cause of death as an accident. ‘Omnia in Bonum’ is a Latin phrase used by Opus Dei members meaning “all unto good”.

Ten days ago the story of Philip Cairns returned to public consciousness when unnamed Garda sources suggested that Eamon Cooke may have been involved in Philip’s abduction and presumed murder.

The same week marked the forty third anniversary of the death of another young boy, John Joseph Horgan, in Palmerstown, Dublin 20, in 1973.

Next-door neighbour Lorcan Bale, aged 16, pleaded guilty to John Horgan’s murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bale was subsequently released from prison in 1980 and now lives in England.

Unlike the disappearance of Philip Cairns, the events leading to the murder of John Horgan were almost totally unreported.

No death certificate was issued for John until 2011, when an inquest into his death, adjourned on numerous occasions, was re-opened.

At the inquest, statements were read detailing how John had been found lashed in crucifix fashion to the rafters of the attic of Bale’s home, after having been killed by a blow or blows to the head.

An altar in the attic contained, among other things, a communion chalice and a number of consecrated hosts.

The re-opened inquest was then adjourned indefinitely by Coroner Kieran Geraghty, who stated that he did not feel it appropriate to call further evidence against the wishes of John Horgan’s parents.

At the time of the inquest, television producer David Malone, who had previously worked on RTÉ’s Crimecall, was in the course of researching a book on John Horgan’s murder.

He subsequently published that book ‘The Boy in the Attic’ in 2011.

Much of the evidence of Lorcan’s interest in satanism is based on the testimony of Lorcan Conroy, a school friend of Lorcan Bale.

The book is also the source of much of the only available information concerning the Garda investigation.

And, in similar fashion to the Cairns’ case, statements attributed to Garda sources contain serious inconsistencies.

In Mr Malone’s book, for instance, there are two completely different accounts by named members of the Gardaí regarding the circumstances in which John Horgan’s body came to be discovered in the attic [please see below for a detailed timeline].

The absence of any public investigation into the death also leaves the public completely at a loss as to Bale’s motive in killing John Horgan.

Like Philip Cairns, John Horgan and Lorcan Bale came from highly devout families.

John Horgan’s father Terence had been involved with the Catholic right-wing organisation Opus Dei since the 1950s. Lorcan’s father Kenneth was a member of the Legion of Mary and a vocal critic to the newspapers of what he saw as slipping moral standards in the Ireland of the 1970s.

The late priest Richard Mulcahy, from Dalkey, whose statement identifying the body of John Horgan and detailing its condition when discovered was read out at the resumed inquest, was described in his obituary as the former head of Opus Dei in Ireland.

He was also offered – and accepted from the investigating officers – the consecrated hosts found there to dispose of.

Lorcan Bale, aged 16 at the time of his trial, pleaded guilty to the murder of John Horgan.

As the plea was one of guilty to murder, the mandatory life sentence applied.

Accordingly, his counsel Seamus Sorohan, SC, had no more to do than simply ask that clinical psychologist Maureen Gaffney and psychiatrist Dr Brian McCaffrey – who had seen Bale prior to his trial and certified him sane – be allowed to attend on him in his place of detention.

It is unclear what statement – if any – was made by Lorcan Bale to the judge, John Kenny, himself a member of Opus Dei.

Another unusual feature of the reporting on the Horgan case is that both the Irish Independent and the Irish Press, in reports the day following the discovery of his body, described his death as believed to be accidental.

The Irish Independent the following day corrected this – though without specifically referring to the error in the previous account – when it reported that a 16-year-old youth had been charged with his murder.

However the same edition of the paper carried a Death Notice placed on behalf of John Horgan, in which he was stated to have died accidentally.

The Irish Times, reporting on the trial of Lorcan Bale, simply stated that a full account of events were given without reporting on that account.

It is possible that journalists may have felt disinclined to report on the facts of the Horgan case out of concern for the sensibilities of John Horgan’s parents. There may also have been a concern as to possible copycat offences.

Like the Cairns case, the Horgan case has also been characterised by unusual subsequent discoveries, and strange rumours emanating from garda officers.

Days after the disappearance of Philip Cairns, his canvas schoolbag was discovered in a lane close to his home, claimed to have been earlier searched by Gardaí. A number of religion books were missing from the schoolbag.

Approximately a week after the death of John Horgan, a small canvas bag was found in a rathole in the field in which he had been killed. Inside the bag were artefacts, pages from occult magazines and a list containing the names of seven local children, including that of John Horgan.

Following the re-opened (and subsequently re-adjourned) inquest into the death of John Horgan, Inspector Gerry O’Carroll appeared on RTÉ’s Liveline to talk about his experiences as a young Garda working on the inquiry into John’s death.

In the course of the interview he discussed satanic aspects of the killing of John Horgan, including apparently hearing Bale in Lucan Garda station, on the night of the boy’s death, calling out to his Master for having failed him.

This is just one of many stories claiming a satanic element to Horgan’s death which have been recounted by Gardaí in Mr Malone’s book. It may be noted that such rumours have featured in Philip Cairns’ case.

Another matter that may be of some concern involves the attic itself.

Fifty years ago semi-detached houses, like those in Hollyville, were divided into two parts.

However, until fire safety regulations were introduced in 1976, it was not uncommon for the shared attic to be simply left as one open space.

This, along with certain anomalies detailed below, might have been explored at the re-opened inquest – and which may yet require to be explored.

Pic: Via Irish Independent archive


Hollyville, Palmerstown, Dublin 20

Below is a timeline of events before and after the death of John Horgan. We will correct any errors/omissions.

January 3, 1952: Engagement announcement (in the Irish Independent) of Kenneth Bale, of Nephin Road, Dublin and Catherine (Maura) Breslin, 10 Shamrock Street, Broadstone, Limerick. Kenneth is an Irish and Latin speaker, a conservative Catholic, a hispanophile and a teacher at Mount Melleray Abbey in Waterford. Kenneth’s father, a Royal Mail employee, had converted to Catholicism. One of his ancestors was an Anglican bishop.

1957: Kenneth and Catherine Bale’s first child, Lorcan Bale, is born. Subsequently four further children are born to the couple: Anna, Deaglan, Maire Eithne and Catriona.

Also part of the family are Catherine’s parents Richard and Ann Breslin.

Kenneth Bale, having left his job in Mount Melleray for reasons unknown, is employed by the place names section of the Ordnance Survey office in Mountjoy House, in Phoenix Park. Reserved at work, he is described by an acquaintance as being ‘the life and soul’ of the private prayer groups he attends. He is also a member of the Irish language section of the Legion of Mary, and the family speak Irish at home.

The Bale family live in 7, Hollyville, Palmerstown, a new estate constructed by builder and publican Frank Towey close to the River Liffey and the main Dublin to Galway highway.

There is a large field behind the house which can be accessed from the back gardens of the houses and this is where the children of Hollyville play.

David Malone in his book The Boy in the Attic describes the houses in the Hollyville estate:

“as completely different from those of [Palmerstown] village: larger, mostly with garages and fine rectangular gardens, they attracted middle-class, professional owners: businessmen, some of Ireland’s top publicans, senior civil servants, a retired police superintendent.”

Mr Malone states further:

“There was a highly charged religious mix in Hollyville, most of the men would attend Mass each day, without fail; almost every male child was an altar boy, including Lorcan Bale; there was a passing evangelical Sunday School, one local was involved in Scientology, another was a senior Irish Mormon who would host an American soul singer on his occasional forays to Ireland; many of the children were sent to retreats in the Dublin mountains organised by Marriage Encounter, then a Catholic marriage renewal programme.”

1962: Fr Patrick McCabe (subsequently named as an abuser of children in the Murphy Report) joins St Philomena’s Parish, Palmerstown. Also attached to the parish is Fr Cornelius O’Keeffe, a playwright and scriptwriter for RTE.

July 17 1962:
 It is reported that 10 dogs have been found poisoned in the Palmerston area. Many of the animals were pets. Most were terriers and were found strewn at distances along the main highway. They all appear to have been killed in a similar manner.

1964: A newly married couple, Terence and Anne Horgan move into the house next door to the Bales at 6, Hollyville. The two houses share a common wall.

Terence is a Dublin accountant and businessman and has been involved with the lay Catholic organisation Opus Dei since studying at University College Dublin in the 1950s. He is also a relative of former Fianna Fáil Director of Elections and National Organiser Frank Hawkins.

August 27, 1965: Terence and Anne Horgan’s son John Horgan is born.

September 1, 1965: John Horgan is baptised in St Philomena’s in a ceremony presided over by his uncle, Fr Sean Horgan.

April 17, 1965:
Two teenage boys plead guilty to the larceny of three prayer books and five religious booklets from St Philomena’s Church, saying they say they took them ‘for the children’.

1967: Fr Patrick McCabe is moved from St Philomena’s to another parish at Eadestown, Co Kildare. According to the Murphy Report, he retains ties with a number of parishioners from Palmerstown, who assist him in organising holidays for boys.

1967: Lorcan Bale is admitted to hospital with a scalded foot.

1968: Lorcan Bale is admitted to hospital for an operation to correct an undescended testicle noted in the course of a physical examination at school. He spends three weeks in hospital which is significantly longer than the usual period of a day or two for such an operation.

October 4, 1969:
Two local boys (John Dillon of Hollyville Lawn and Franz van Cauwelart of Hollyville Lawn) are reported missing. It is stated that “the boys were seen playing in a field just behind the estate and when they did not return the alarm was raised by Mr van Cauwelaert around 8 o’clock. Mr and Mrs Dillon were on pilgrimage to Lourdes at the time.”

1969: Lorcan Bale spends six months in St Paul’s Ward of Cappagh Hospital – a centre for the care of children with continuing health problems – under the care of Professor Tom Kavanagh. In addition to attending primary school at the hospital he is also involved with the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland. During this period, according to Mr Malone’s book, he appears to have obtained sight of a periodical called ‘Man Myth and Magic.’

1970: Lorcan Bale commences secondary school at Colaiste Mhuire, Parnell Square.

November 1, 1972: The body of a 74-year-old man, Thomas Lynch, is found in a drain beside St Philomena’s church. He had been missing since he went to mass the previous Friday. The Irish Press states that “foul play is not suspected.”

December 1972: Lorcan Bale disappears for four nights. According to a statement subsequently given by Kenneth Bale:

“He went missing from home for a few days before Christmas. And he never gave any real explanation of why he had done it, save to say he was in County Meath.”

Spring 1973: John Horgan’s Raleigh ‘Chipper’ a toddler’s version of the Raleigh Chopper, is stolen.

Fr Cornelius O’Keeffe discovers the theft of a communion chalice and three consecrated wafers from St Philomena’s church. In contrast to the prayer books stolen in 1965, this theft does not appear to have been reported to the Gardaí.

May 1973: John Horgan makes his First Holy Communion.

June 1973: Catherine Bale enters Bon Secours hospital in Glasnevin for a hysterectomy.

June 10, 1973:
The Intermediate Certificate Examination commences. A photograph of Lorcan Bale – who is sitting the exam – appears in a national newspaper the following day.

June 14, 1973:
In the morning, Lorcan Bale sits his Intermediate Certificate Geography exam. He has no other exam that day.

In the afternoon, Anne Horgan goes to visit Catherine Bale in hospital. She leaves John Horgan in the care of Ann Breslin, who last sees him in the garden of 7, Hollyville, playing with the Bale’s pet canary.

Lorcan Bale, in a statement subsequently made to Gardaí, will state that after returning home from school he:

“had a cup of coffee and.. went to my room. I rested there for about an hour. While I was there I was considering getting John, that is John Horgan, the seven year old boy who lives next door. I planned how I would do it, meaning how I would kill him and hide his body. I then started getting things I needed to carry out my plan. I got the club. Then I went down to the tool shed and got as much rope as I could find. I also brought down neck ties from my room when I was going to the tool shed.”

4pm: According to Lorcan Bale, he goes into the back garden of 7, Hollyville and asks John Horgan if he would like to look for rabbits in the field. The two boys climb the fence into the field with the club (elsewhere described as a skittle) and rope in Lorcan’s pocket.

According to a letter on file dated June 15, 1973, and written by Sergeant Patrick McGirr to Dublin County Coroner Dr Bartley Sheehan:

“Lorcan Bale invited the child out into a field behind his house to look for rabbits. He clubbed the deceased from behind as he was looking at a rabbit hole [other accounts say a rat hole], which he Bale had pointed out to him.”

According to a subsequent autopsy report, John’s death occurs immediately or almost immediately.

According to Lorcan Bale, he subsequently ties up John’s arms and legs and places a gag in his mouth. He then set off towards his house with a sack containing John’s body.

On seeing two local boys – Michael Smallwood and Damien Dempster, aged 12 – in the distance he puts the sack in a hedge and covers it with nettles. Once they have passed he moves the sack to a different hedge and goes home to get a haversack, returns to the field and places the body in the haversack to take it home. While walking home the second time, he meets another local boy, Colin Nolan, who asks him if he is bringing home coal. Lorcan says yes.

Again according to Lorcan Bale, on arriving home, he initially places the haversack in the garage before going upstairs, coming down again, retrieving John Horgan’s body, bringing it upstairs and through the secret entrance to the attic. Once the body is in the attic, Lorcan Bale uses a thick red rope to tie it to a vertical beam running from room to attic floor in crucifix form. At some point later in the afternoon he returns to the attic to cut off John’s clothes with a scissors.

6pm: John Horgan is missed by Ann Breslin who asks Lorcan about his whereabouts. Lorcan Bale states that he has left him in the field. A search for John commences.

7pm: Ann Breslin leaves Hollyville to visit her daughter Catherine Bale in hospital.

8pm: Terence Horgan returns home. He is allegedly told by Lorcan Bale that he had gone to the field to study and that John went with him and wandered off.

10pm: Terence Horgan reports John’s disappearance to Gardaí.

10.20pm: Gardaí arrive. According to David Malone, the Garda team was led by Detective Inspector William Reynolds with Detective Sergeant Jim Noonan assisting him and that they were joined by Terence Smyth, a local Garda from Lucan.

A Detective Whyte is also named as being present but Mr Malone does not introduce him.

He is simply referred to as being present and saying, ‘we’ll search the house’ before Lorcan admits to knowing where John Horgan is [further details below].

However a letter on file from Garda Sergeant Patrick McGirr to Dublin County Coroner Dr Bartley Sheehan, also quoted in Malone’s book, states that:

“[a] party of Gardaí under the direction of Inspector John J White, Clondalkin Station, commenced a search of the area surrounding the missing boy’s home.”

Garda accounts of events leading to the discovery that evening of John Horgan’s body, as set out in Mr Malone’s book, are wildly divergent.

Detective Sergeant (subsequently Superintendent) Noonan tells Malone that his suspicions of Lorcan were aroused when he told Sergeant Noonan that he had last seen John heading through a gate in the direction of the River Liffey, after establishing that Lorcan could not in fact have seen this gate from his stated vantage point.

After some subsequent discussion, Lorcan became agitated. In his book, Mr Malone states:

“Noonan observed that the boy’s hands were making a continuous motion, alternately wringing his fingers and pulling at the sleeves of his khaki jacket. Watching this exchange, another officer, Detective Whyte, spoke: ‘We’ll search the house.’ Detective Inspector Willie Reynolds added, ‘We’ll search the house from top to bottom.’ As the last light faded from the Jue sky, Lorcan Bale looked at the three uniformed men and then to his father. Lowering his head, he whispered, “I’ll show you.’ ‘Where is he?’ asked Detective Sergeant Noonan, softly. ‘In the attic’.”

The following account by Garda John O’Loughlin, also quoted in Mr Malone’s book, is however very different. O’Loughlin states:

“On arrival [at Hollyville] I was met by Mr Horgan, who was in a very agitated state. Initially I presumed this to be a case of a little boy who had wandered off and would soon turn up unharmed. But I was very taken aback when Mr Horgan said to me, I know my son is dead, my worry is will we ever find his body… Apparently the Horgan boy was last seen going up to the fields at the rear of houses. So I went next door and spoke to Mr Kenneth Bale, the father of the 16 year old youth, and asked permission to speak to the teenager. I asked Lorcan Bale where the Horgan boy was…”

“I got a distinct feeling that Lorcan Bale was hiding something. While I was speaking to him, Bale glanced upstairs a few times. I asked Mr Bale if I could have a look in the teenager’s room upstairs. The bedroom door was locked… A key was produced and I looked round the room, which at first glance was like a normal boy’s room. At one end there was a built in wardrobe doing to the ceiling. I opened the door and saw that it was bereft of any clothing or contents. On the base of the wardrobe broken plasterboard pieces littered the floor. I looked up and saw a passage had been cut in the ceiling large enough for a person to fit through. I asked Lorcan Bale who had crafted the hole in the ceiling and he said that this was all his own work that he was responsible.”

Garda O’Loughlin then opened the main entry to the attic at top of the stairs and saw:-

“[t]he naked body of the Horgan boy lashed to a makeshift cross from the rafters, while in front of him on the ceiling floor was an elaborate altar…[o]n telling Mr and Mrs Horgan, that I had found the body of their little angel, Mrs Horgan paused, then said that this boy was a gift from God and that the Lord had intended them to have him for seven years only. There was no aggression or talk of revenge, as one would naturally expect under these terrible circumstances.”

11.30pm: Lorcan Bale is taken to Lucan Garda station and makes a confession.

June 15, 1973: Following Lorcan Bale’s confession, Sergeant Noonan returns to the attic in the early hours of the morning. He is accompanied by Fr Richard Mulcahy, Chief Counsellor of Opus Dei in Ireland, who is ministering both the Horgan and Bale families.

Mr Malone’s book contains a detailed description, provided by Noonan, of the contents of the attic. In addition to John Horgan’s crucified body, the attic contained a makeshift altar stand including a communion chalice containing what appear to be consecrated hosts, a bowl full of sand, a number of candles arranged in pentagram form, an alarm clock stopped at 5pm, a broken bell, two tarot cards (‘the devil’ and ‘the lovers’) containers of black and white powder (described by Noonan as not obviously identifiable) and a saucepan containing human excreta. Also folded on the attic floor is a cloak made out of a blanket, with multi-coloured handmade designs, and a red silk vest.

According to Malone, neither Noonan nor Inspector Reynolds, “thought it appropriate for the consecrated hosts be bagged and tagged with the rest of the evidence”.

They were removed and taken away by Fr Mulcahy, who also identified John’s body before it was removed from the attic and taken to Kirwin’s Undertakers.

Lorcan Bale goes once again to the field with Gardaí to show them the place where he hit John. He also shows them another spot which was the original intended scene of the crime and which he claims he rejected, after realising it was visible from the upper window of the Hollyville houses.

Bale is subsequently taken to a special court sitting in Lucan where he is formally charged with murder and remanded in custody pending trial in St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders.

The same morning, reports of John Horgan’s death feature in the Irish Independent and Irish Press. The reports are in generally similar terms and refer to the boy as having been found dead in a neighbour’s attic following a search.

They both state that a 14-year-old boy is being questioned “but it is believed the death was accidental.”

June 16, 1973: John Horgan’s death notice appears in the Irish Independent, stating:

“June 14, 1973 (following an accident), John, darling only child of Anne and Terry, 6 Hollyville, Palmerstown, Co Dublin. Mass of the Holy Angels, in St Philomela’s Chruch, Palmerstown, today (Saturday) at 11 o’c. Funeral immediately afterwards to Balgriffin Cemetery. “Omnia in Bonum”

However the same newspaper carries a report of “a 16-year-old youth” having been charged with the murder of John Horgan.

John Horgan’s funeral mass takes place at St Philomena’s.

Prior to the mass, Kenneth Bale is invited to attend prayers at the Horgan house in 6, Hollyville and is embraced by Mr Horgan during the ceremony.

June 18, 1973: The Montreal Gazette runs a story about John Horgan’s death, with the headline “Youth charged with murder after boy, 7, crucified.” The article states that police “found the boy’s nude and battered body with the help of tracker dogs”. A “police spokesman” is quoted as saying “the body was nailed by the hands to the office rafters in a crude form of crucifixon. It was a pretty sickening sight.”

June 1973: Local boy Michael Smallwood finds a small canvas bag in a rat hole in the field, containing torn pages from occult magazines curious artefacts and a small notebook. Ten names of local children (including John Horgan) are written in the notebook. Sergeant Noonan and Garda Terry Smyth also notice that the top branches of an ash tree in the field have been cut off, something which Noonan notes without further comment “happens occasionally after a murder”.

July 11, 1973: Coroner Bartley Sheehan adjourns the inquest into John Horgan’s death after being told that a young man has been charged with his murder. Reports of the adjournment as above appear in the Irish Independent the following day with no further details.

June-November 1973:
Lorcan Bale is examined by psychologists Dr Brian McCaffrey and Maureen Gaffney, who conclude he is of sound mind and mentally fit to stand trial.

November 27 1973: Lorcan Bale pleads guilty to the murder of John Horgan in a trial in the Central Criminal Court, presided over by Judge John Kenny. Because of his guilty plea, no details of the crime are given.

Lorcan Bale is sentenced to penal servitude for life, to be detained in St Patrick’s Institution for Young Offenders till he is 21 and then transferred to an adult prison. The judge accedes to a request by Bale’s counsel, Seamus Sorohan SC, that the two psychologists who examined him pre-trial be allowed to visit him.

November 28 1973: The Irish Times records Lorcan Bale’s trial without giving details, stating that:

“[e]nquiries into the murder were conducted, particularly by Garda Detective Inspector Reynolds, and eventually a full statement was made by the accused and all the facts were made clear.”

June 26, 1974: PR agency Murray Consultants is founded by Terence Horgan, Joe Murray and Jim Milton.

1973-1978: Lorcan Bale is detained in St Patrick’s Institution.

1975-1978: During this period, Lorcan Bale is allowed out one Sunday every two weeks or so for a meal with his family at the Skylon Hotel, accompanied by prison officers.

During this period Kenneth Bale begins writing letters to the newspapers concerned at falling moral standards in Ireland.

Lorcan Bale is transferred to Arbour Hill Prison and subsequently to an open prison.

1980: Lorcan Bale leaves prison, having been deemed by the Minister for Justice to have served his life sentence. Among the conditions attached to this release is a requirement that he report back to the authorities at regular intervals. The totality of the time served by Bale is almost identical to the span of John Horgan’s lifetime.

Summer 1986: Fr Patrick McCabe, now facing numerous allegations of paedophilia, moves into a house in Palmerstown owned by Chief Superintendent Joe McGovern.

While living in this house, he commits a sexual assault on a nine-year-old boy, to whom he gives a T-shirt and a prayer book. The boy’s mother reports the assault to the local Gardaí, who call Fr McCabe in for questioning. Fr McCabe attends this questioning in the company of a retired garda sergeant, who asserts Fr McCabe’s innocence.

Subsequently Fr McCabe visits Chief Superintendent McGovern and makes certain limited admissions, which Chief Superintendent McGovern conveys not to the investigating garda, but to his local parish priest.

When subsequently questioned by the Murphy Commission, McGovern replies that

“I didn’t report – I didn’t consider it appropriate to notify the local gardaí in case – they could even think I was meddling. I took the course that I thought was the proper course at the time. I contacted the local curate who was a very conscientious person and I knew who would take it on board and he did take it on board and he got onto the Archbishops House about the matter and he subsequently told me that he got onto the superintendent in Ballyfermot. So I think there was no omission on my part there.”

After this disclosure, the investigation stopped and no further inquiries were made by the Gardaí. Even though the Gardaí knew that Fr McCabe intended to return to the USA, no warrant was sought for his arrest.

According to the Murphy Report,

“The explanation given to the Commission by the investigating garda for the failure to take additional statements was that he did not want to expose the boy within the community as having been indecently assaulted by a priest. The Commission does not find this explanation convincing, plausible or acceptable….The Commission is of the view that this particular garda investigation was marred by Church interference which was facilitated by the Gardaí and which was material in allowing Fr McCabe to evade justice.”

October 13, 1989: Kenneth Bale dies of a heart attack at 67. He had been resuscitated after a prior heart attack by Cathal Goan, later head of the Irish national broadcaster RTÉ as well as the Irish language television station TG4, who was working in the Ordnance Survey at the time.

1992: Joe Murray, Jim Milton and Terence Horgan reach a settlement with the Revenue regarding payments made into an offshore account between 1978 and 1992 in respect of personal services rendered to overseas clients. Payment of the Revenue debt is allowed to be made through a company registered in Panama without the names of the men concerned being published as Revenue defaulters.

January 6 1996: The 1992 settlement reached by Murray Consultants with the Revenue becomes public knowledge. It is noted that, in 1988, Murray had been responsible for the Revenue campaign on self-asessment.

February 10, 1996: An Irish Times article on Murray Consultants describes Murray and Horgan as having had “connections with the right wing Catholic organisation Opus Dei when they were at UCD.”

It describes Tony O’Reilly and Independent Newspapers as important clients of the company. It also describes the business’s client list as including Investment Bank of ireland, Arcon International Resources, Heineken, IAWS, National Irish Bank, Larry Goodman, Food Industries, Arnotts, Avonmore, Golden Vale and CIE. Other directors of the company are former editor of Business and Finance Magazine Jim Milton, Dermot Breen and Jim Morrissey

November 9, 1996: It is reported that a dispute has arisen between Terence Horgan and the other directors of Murray Consultants. Legal action is subsequently taken by Mr Horgan against his co-directors.

January 25, 2000: The legal dispute between Terence Horgan and Murrays settled for an undisclosed sum.

2002: Professor Tom Kavanagh dies. He is described as a former consultant paediatrician, one of the founders of the Marist Boys Club and chairman of the Vincent de Paul Boys’ Club Central Committee.

September 30 2002: An article authored by Fr Richard Mulcahy is published detailing his friendship with Jose Maria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, with whom he spent time in Rome as a young priest.

April 24, 2009: Fr Mulcahy dies. Obituaries describe him as the nephew of the former leader of Fine Gael and Minister for Education General Richard Mulcahy. They also describe him as the former Head of Opus Dei in Ireland.

May 24, 2011: The inquest into John Horgan’s death is re-opened in the Maldron Hotel, Dublin. As a result of this inquest, a death certificate for John is issued, for the first time, something which the Sunday Times describes as ‘an administrative oversight’.

At the inquest, the autopsy report carried out on John Horgan by the former State pathologist Dr Maurice Hickey is read into the record.

This report states that John Horgan died from a fracture of the skull and bruising and laceration of the brain as a result of severe blunt force injury or injuries to the back of the head. It also notes multiple bruises on the backs of both John’s shoulders and multiple small bruises on the fronts of both his shins.

Also read out at the inquest is a statement by Fr Richard Mulcahy in which he states:

“I went to the attic… where I saw the body of a young boy was tied to the rafters”

The statement also reads:

“Det Sgt Noonan, who was in the attic at the time, pointed out to me a silver cup and I removed from this three hosts which I retained.’

After being told by Detective Inspector Richard McDonnell, of Lucan Garda Station, that a male had been arrested for the murder of John Horgan, convicted, released and was now living outside the jurisdiction, Coroner Kieran Geraghty states that it:

“would not be appropriate to hear the inquest in full without a request by the family or for good reason.”

He adjourns it sine die (with no date for resumption).


2011 David Malone’s book on John Horgan’s murder ‘The Boy in the Attic’ is published by Mainstream Publishing.

Included in the book is an account by a schoolmate of Lorcan Bale’s, Lorcan Conroy, detailing certain aspects of Lorcan Bale’s behaviour over a six month period prior to his death.

in this account, Mr Conroy states that in the autumn of 1972 Lorcan Bale attended at school wearing a necklace made of rat skulls, which he described as having come from rats he has killed himself. Lorca Conroy also references two thefts by Bale that autumn: a bicycle from the grounds of King’s Hospital School, and the sum of £100 alleged to have been stolen by Bale from the school office after breaking into the building at night.

Mr Conroy says that he was informed by Bale in November 1972 that he had joined a secret society of adults who met weekly to perform certain rituals including nudity.

According to Mr Conroy, in the spring of 1973, Lorcan Bale brought a chalice to school and also began to speak about killing animals.

The same spring he also participated in a seance with Lorcan Bale in the attic of the Bale home, which the boys entered through the secret entrance in the wardrobe. The attic contained saucers with white powders, communication wafers, a ouija board and a child’s bicycle (subsequently confirmed to be that stolen from John Horgan).

Conroy was also shown by Bale a peephole in the attic through which he spied on persons using the family bathroom. Later that afternoon, Conroy was allegedly the subject of a physical attack by Bale in the field behind Hollyville, during which he feared for his life.

Conroy further alleges that, when travelling home on the bus with Bale on the day of John Horgan’s death, Bale told him that he intended to kill the boy next door in order to ensure good grades in his Intermediate Certificate exam.

In addition to the allegations made by Conroy, ‘The Boy in the Attic’ also makes reference to a local boy, Jimmy Browne, having suffered a scare as a result of Bale having entered his house and painted a pentagram in luminous paint on his bedroom ceiling.

It further refers to a New York priest with an interest in the occult as having fainted after looking at Lorcan Bale through the keyhole of his cell and, on awakening, telling a prison officer that he ‘had seen the face of evil’.

Another prison officer also referenced by Malone also states that, during his time in St Patrick’s Institution, Lorcan Bale was allowed to paint a black pentagram on the floor and ceiling of his cell, to hang heavy black curtains and decorate it with pictures of nuns and angels.

When asked why Bale was allowed to paint the pentagram in his cell, the same officer tells Malone “I’m really not sure. Perhaps it was easier to allow him to paint the pentagrams than to create an incident by making him remove it”.

Malone also refers to other prisoners having had difficulty sleeping due to Bale’s chanting and draws attention to the apparent suicide on May 14, 1975 of John McCarthy, another young offender with whom Lorcan Bale had recently had a dispute.

Finally, Malone makes reference to an unusual crucifix shown to him by the current owners of the Horgan family home. Apparently it had been discovered in the Horgan attic in the course of building work.

October 14, 2011
Garda John (Sean) O’Loughlin is interviewed on Liveline. In an account consistent with that quoted by Mr Malone in his book (but entirely different from that attributed to Detective Inspector Noonan in the same book) Garda O’Loughlin said he became suspicious when he quizzed Bale in his home and the killer kept glancing upstairs.

When Garda O’Loughlin entered Lorcan Bale’s room he found a hole in the ceiling, hidden by a large wardrobe that stretched from the floor.

Garda O’Loughlin added:

“I went out to the patrol car and got a lamp from the car. There was no stairwell into the attic so I stood on the bannister and pushed up the trapdoor and shone the lamp up – and what I saw there still haunts me to this day. The boy was tied to a makeshift cross, naked and obviously dead.”

Garda O’Loughlin told Liveline that he didn’t go into the attic as he wanted to preserve the evidence. He said:

“It was very, very obvious [he was dead]. He was naked and it was obvious he had been clubbed in the back of the head, it was very, very obvious he was dead. “If I’d thought there was the slightest chance he was alive I would have gone in.”

Garda O’Loughlin added:

“I got everybody out of the house to preserve the scene and then the priest came later on and I asked him, ‘Where does this lead to Father, this is black magic’. “The little boy’s body was lying on the couch at this stage and he said, ‘This is where it leads to’, gesturing to the little boy’s body.”

Also involved in the search for John was Inspector Gerry O’Carroll, subsequently part of the team investigating Philip Cairns’ disappearance.

Inspector O’Carroll told Joe Duffy how another officer barred his way when he tried to enter the Bale house. He said:

“I made to go in the front door of the house and he pushed in front of me, he was a very deeply religious man, and he said, ‘Don’t go in.”‘There’s a lot of strong men in there who’ve had their stomachs turned by what they’ve seen.’ “I said, ‘What?’, and he said, ‘He’s been crucified’.

[Later that evening’] “I drove down to Lucan and the detective said, ‘He’s in there and it’s quite extraordinary, he’s talking about his failure. Lorcan Bale was in there and in his hysteria he was talking disjointedly to a master we now know as the Dark Lord about his failure, how he had failed..”

2012 The Sunday World publishes a story identifying Lorcan Bale as currently working as an Environmental Services Manager for a London borough and associated with church groups in London.

RTÉ, BBC, UTV, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Press, Sunday World, ‘The Boy In The Attic‘ by David Malone, Magill magazine, Village magazine, National Library of Ireland, publically available court and inquest reports

Previously: Philip Cairns And A Trail Of Disinformation