Dick O’Flaherty’s family just as frustrated one year after his death

Gary Kean
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The Main Street apartment where David (Dick) O'Flaherty was found dead in Corner Brook on June 3, 2013.

It’s been a year now and David (Dick) O’Flaherty’s family still doesn’t know how or why he died.

“This last year been hard,” said his niece, Tammy Earle. “Every day this is on our mind.”

It was the evening of June 3, 2013 when the 51-year-old man was found dead in his bed-sitting room, located at the rear of an apartment building and bar on Main Street in Corner Brook.

His family and friends say a couple of days before he was found, Mr. O’Flaherty had been in a fight with someone. To this day, they don’t know what, if any, role that alleged struggle might have played in his death.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary treated the death as “suspicious” and spent two days processing the scene before removing Mr. O’Flaherty’s remains from the apartment. His body was sent to St. John’s for an autopsy, which was inconclusive as to how he died.

No charges have been laid in relation to Mr. O’Flaherty’s final days.

“We have called the police many times,” Earle said. “They can’t give us any answers ... We weren’t given any information because it’s a police investigation, but the police investigation is going nowhere.”

The RNC was asked for an update on the investigation and an interview with the lead investigator about why it has been taking so long. The police confirmed the investigation is ongoing and that it is now being handled out of St. John’s, but would not comment any further. The RNC was also not willing to grant an interview about why some investigations can be so difficult to manage generally.

Most of what the family knows is gleaned from the condition of Mr. O’Flaherty’s body when it was turned over to his family, the state of his dwelling when they were permitted to enter it again and what witnesses have said of the last time they saw him alive.

When his body was returned to the family, Earle said they had to decide whether to have an open-casket wake for him because of extensive bruising on Mr. O’Flaherty’s face.

“We kept it open because they put enough makeup on him,” said Earle. “There was a lot of makeup.”

Earle also cleaned up the apartment where her uncle had lived and died. She said the place “was wrecked” and, judging by the four chairs that had been set up in the room, he likely had company not long before he died.

There were others who said they saw him being beaten up a couple of days before he was found dead.

“If there is not going to be any homicide or murder charges, we know he was in a scuffle that night and it was witnessed, so why hasn’t that person been charged (with assault) yet?” said a frustrated Earle.

“His face wasn’t beat off him by nothing.”

Friends and family of Mr. O’Flaherty plan to remember him with a rally tonight, but they also want to send a message to police that they won’t be going away until they get some answers concerning his death.

The rally will start at 45 Main St. — where Mr. O’Flaherty’s apartment was located — at 6:30 p.m. Those taking part will then march towards the RNC headquarters on University Drive. From the police station, some of those taking part plan to go to the Castaway Lounge on Herald Avenue, where Mr. O’Flaherty worked. There, they plan to release balloons and lanterns in his memory.

Earle still finds it hard to even believe her uncle is gone. She said she has to actually go to his grave in order for the reality to sink in.

“There’s no dealing with it,” she said of the persisting dissatisfaction. “We just can’t move on because we’re just stuck in the same position as we were last year.”

Organizations: University Drive

Geographic location: Herald Avenue

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Recent comments

  • Paul
    June 03, 2014 - 20:15

    A RCMP officer told me once that RNC stands for Not Real Cops. I think it's true.

  • fred meaney
    June 03, 2014 - 09:25

    dick oflaherty was a very kind &gentle man;he lived with me &my girlfriend for 6 months or so before moving over main st.he was very protective over his family &friends;always avoided fights unless provoked;too bad someone didn't leave a pile of drugs & money in his apt. because then rnc would respond differently or maybe if he was a lawyers ;judges or someones son higher up in this city;he was a victim here so someone should've been arrested by now;rnc should take a day evenof their time to get this solved so family & friends can have closure;

  • Allie
    June 03, 2014 - 08:54

    I was Talking about this the other night...A man loses his life and no arrest made and they possibly know who did it . An elderly woman gets pushed down on broadway and they give a 3 yr sentence (which I totally agree with) but they can't do anything to solve this .Its so sad to see this man who was a fun loving PERSON not an animal die so young RIP

  • jessica bailey
    June 03, 2014 - 08:37

    I still cant believe dick is gone. Albert Hickey i would have to agree with u 100% about if this was a family member of one of the police then this would have already been solved. But because it wasnt one of their brothers or nefews or father or friend they dont seem to care. And i am sure that if they could they would just sweep this under the rug and move on to the next thing. And yeah its pretty sad when the police around here are more concerned about someone smoking a bit of weed then they r about a mans life being taken. Sorry but in my eyes all this says to the public is that its ok to go around taking ppl lives. U got at least a year or more of walking around free. This really makes me sick. The person or persons that took dicks life are still out on out streets. Walking around free Able to do this to someone else. Really??? Thats just crazy to know that there is a person or a few ppl walking our streets that took another persons life. How safe do that make us feel about corner brook?? I know it dont make me feel too safe. Dick was a father, a son, a brother, a uncle and a friend. His life was taken from all of us and its been a full year and still no one can tell us what happened or what is going to be done about this. Well i got a message to to police. We r not going to just let this slid. His family and friends want answers and we want the ones that did this off our streets before they do it again. The police might not want to deal with this but we r not going to rest until u do ur job. I am totaly disgusted in the police around here.

  • Albert Hickey
    June 03, 2014 - 07:06

    I consider myself a friend of the O'Flaherty family and in particular Dick.. I have known him a lot of years and he was not a violent person and didn't start fights.. He was attacked and beaten and I feel that it was connected to his death.. I'm sure if the victim had been some upstanding pillar of the community, the RNC would'nt spare any expense or manpower to get to the truth, but because of their longstanding negative attitude toward Dick and many of his peers, this whole thing is obviously of very low priority for them.. If they could, I'm sure they'd sweep it under the rug and get on with things they DO see as priority, like shaking down pot users and sellers.