Limerick Chronicle 13/3/1920
The Rathkeale Tragedy. Shooting of Sergeant Neazor. The Inquest and Verdict.
Commercial Traveller's Experience. [FROM OUR REPORTER]
Additional details are now available of the shooting tragedy in the Hibernian Hotel, Rathkeale, on Wednesday night. They go to show that the outrage was evidently carefully planned. During the day, which was fair day in the town, the deceased Sergeant George Neazor and Constable Garratt Doyle, who were in plain clothes, were protecting Michael O'Brien, a land steward from Ratoo, Co Kerry, who was doing business at the fair. In the evening they retired to the Hotel, situated in the Main Street, (word indecipherable) by Mr J Ward, and here they had tea. Around 9 o'clock or so the door of the commercial room, where they were, was pushed open and five or six men entered. Shots were fired in quick succession and Sergeant Neazor was fatally wounded while Constable Doyle was wounded in the hip and wrist. The affair, naturally, created a sensation in the Hotel and in the town, and yesterday there was a general feeling of abhorrence among the people on the commission of a dastardly crime in a locality with its record for peace and good order.
At the inquest on Thursday night, the entire facts, so far as they were procurable, were related to the Coroner and jury. The investigation was held in the Hibernian Hotel.
The inquest opened at 6 o'clock, and was conducted by Dr M Cussen, Pallaskenry, who acted as deputy for Dr Hannigan, the district Coroner.
The following were sworn on the jury —Michael Magner (foreman), Richard Magner, Denis Hickey, Daniel Frawley, William Costello, Michael Hennessy, Maurice Gavin, Denis Kelly, Matthew O'Shea, Cornelius Brennan, Edward Kiernan, Christopher Sparling, Patrick O'Shea, J J O'Donnell, and Michael Culhane.
The authorities were represented by County Inspector Yates, District Inspector Brownrigg, and Head Constable Price.
During the proceedings the widow and relatives of the deceased were present, and were pathetic listeners to the narration of the facts connected with the outrage.
Evidence of identification was given by Mr Adam Neazor. He stated that the deceased was thirty-nine years of age and married. He was a sergeant of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and had been stationed in the County Kerry for some years past.
Mr McGuire was the next witness. He stated that he was by occupation a commercial traveller, and resided at Northumberland Road, Dublin. He was staying at the Hibernian Hotel on Wednesday and was in the commercial room at about 9 o'clock that night when three men, of whom deceased was one, entered. All the men appeared to him to be civilians. They had tea, and afterwards sat round the fireside chatting. Constable Doyle sat in a chair next the door, Michael O'Brien was in the centre opposite the fire, and the deceased, Sergeant Neazor, was sitting in a chair farther away from the door, and partly facing it. Some short time after 10 o'clock a man, about 25 years of age, wearing a light overcoat and a bowler hat came into the room .He sat down and did not speak to anyone. He left after a brief time, and while witness was reading a newspaper five or six men rushed into the apartment. He could not give any description of the men further than that the two who were leading were low sized, wearing caps and dark overcoats. The next thing that he noticed was that one of the men held a nickle plated revolver in his hand and the others extended their hands. Immediately he heard shots fired in quick succession. Witness, seeing the situation, left his chair and crouched for safety underneath the table. While in that position he saw the deceased stagger across from the fireplace (2 words indecipherable) witness and fall. At that moment he noticed that the deceased had a revolver in his hand. The men then Ieft and medical aid was summoned.
Medical testimony was then given by Dr Thos Magner. J.P, and Dr J B Hayes who attended the deceased and Constable Doyle immediately they were summoned to the scene of the shooting.
Dr Magner's evidence was to the effect that the deceased had a bullet wound on the right breast about six inches above the nipple. Death, in his opinion, was due to shock and hemorrhage caused by this bullet wound.
Dr Hayes corroborated.
This was all the evidence produced, and after a brief consultation the jury returned a verdict that the deceased, Sergeant George Neazor, died on the 11th March 1920, as a result of a bullet wound and hemorrhage, and that said wound was inflicted by some person or persons unknown. They desired to tender to the widow and relatives of the deceased their sympathy in their bereavement.
The proceedings then concluded.
The remains were subsequently removed to the Rathkeale police barrack awaiting interment.
The late Sergeant Neazor was a native of Ballycahane, Pallaskenrry, where his wife and two children reside. He was one of the best known members of the Co Kerry police force and had been stationed in Tralee for some years. For some time past be had been located at Ratoo protection post, Lixnaw. He was an efficient police officer.
The remains were removed from Rathkeale police station at half-past one yesterday for interment in the family burial at Castletown Pallaskenry. The funeral, which travelled by road, a distance of some 10 miles, was followed by a large number of people and members of the constabulary.
Constable Doyle, who was wounded in the shooting, was removed from Rathkeale Union Hospital on Thursday by motor ambulance to the Military Hospital New Barracks for special treatment. He was wounded in the hip and wrist, but his condition is not serious, and his recovery is expected to be rapid. He is a married man, with no family, and had been also stationed at Ratoo protection post for some time past.
An additional establishment of police has been drafted into Rathkeale, but there are no military posted in the town.
Enquiries are being prosecuted into the identity of the men who took part in the raid, but so far no arrests have been made.