DUBLIN — The police in Ireland said on Monday they were investigating an incident in which a man was found dead at his local post office. Witnesses told the Irish media that the older man had been brought in by two men who tried to claim his pension on his behalf.
The witnesses said they had seen the man being dragged into a general store and post office, in the town of Carlow, southwest of Dublin, by two younger men.
The mayor of Carlow, Ken Murnane, identified the dead man as Peader Doyle, 66, a retired painter, saying that the town was in shock. He said the police had ruled out foul play.
One of the two men had earlier tried to collect the pension without Mr. Doyle, saying he was sick at home, but was told that money could be paid only to the named beneficiary, the witnesses said in comments widely reported in the Irish media. The Irish Times reported that the man later returned with another man, and they had Mr. Doyle propped up between them.
The police and an ambulance were called to the scene after other customers told the staff that there was something wrong with Mr. Doyle. He was found to be dead on the scene, the police said in a statement. It was unclear whether Mr. Doyle was already dead or dying when he arrived at the post office on Friday morning, however, or whether the two men with him had been trying to help or take advantage of him. Both men were questioned by the police and released.
The police said in a statement that they were investigating the “discovery of the body of a male at a business premises in the Carlow area” and that a post mortem had been carried out. The results of that post mortem could not be released for “operational reasons,” the statement said.
The statement did not provide details about the incident, saying only that the focus of the investigation was “on the ancillary events that took place at the business premises connected to the recent death of the male.”
Mr. Murnane, the mayor of Carlow, said locals were shocked by the circumstances of the death of Mr. Doyle, who lived alone, and who was well-known and liked.
“They are devastated,” he said. “You wouldn’t see the like of this in a Hitchcock movie. It beggars belief.” He added, “I’ve every confidence that the police will make sure that this man gets justice, if his body was used to commit fraud.”
In order to bring criminal charges against the men who brought Mr. Doyle to the post office, prosecutors would need to prove that the deceased was already dead, and that the men who accompanied him were aware of that. Possible charges would include attempted fraud, and the failure to report a death.
The police are now looking for close circuit TV footage that captured the 500-yard walk between Mr. Doyle’s home and the post office.
In Ireland, state pension rates can vary, depending on age and social welfare contributions, but according to the government website the basic rate is €253.30, or about $285, a week.