A man who brought his uncle’s corpse into a post office to claim his pension has said he “didn’t know he was dead”.
Declan Haughney has insisted he was not trying to steal from 66-year-old Peadar Doyle, saying: “I’m not an idiot.”
Mr Haughney and another man carried Mr Doyle from his house to a post office in County Carlow, Ireland on Friday morning, after staff reportedly told them their uncle had to be present to collect the pension.
The 40-year-old says he believes his uncle died in their arms on the way.
A member of staff raised the alarm when they propped Mr Doyle’s body against a counter at Hosey’s newsagents and post office in Carlow.
Gardaí have ruled out foul play and Mr Haughney, who offered Irish police a voluntary statement, has not been arrested.
He said he has been branded a “murderer” and become “the talk of the town”.
Speaking for the first time about the events, he told the Irish Mirror: “Why would I want to rob my uncle?”
“I’m not an idiot to walk into Hoseys with a dead man and collect his money. Am I cuckoo? Am I cuckoo? I’m not.”
Mr Haughney believes his uncle may have died from a heart attack on the way to the post office on Staplestown Road, while he, Mr Doyle, and the other man were linking arms.
“He was walking like normal and then I reckon he died,” Mr Haughney said. “We were grand then all of a sudden he started going all slumpy.”
He said they thought nothing of it because Mr Doyle had previously suffered heart attacks, and only realised he was dead when he dropped to the floor at the counter.
It is understood no money was handed over.
Mr Haughney, who lived with his uncle, said he was devastated: “He’s he man who reared me. I’m shellshocked. My heart is torn in two.”
Irish police believe Mr Doyle died before his body reached the post office at 11am, according tothe Irish Times.
On Friday, a local priest was called to the shop to give the retired painter his last rites.
Father John Dunphy said: “People in the town are clearly shocked, but he did get prayers and he was anointed.”
He added: “We all gathered around him and prayed. It was very dignified.
“The gardaí were very kind and the staff were brave. It was a peaceful moment, very, very dignified.”
A Garda spokesman said officers were now focussing on the “ancillary events” surrounding the death.
The Independent has attempted to contact Mr Haughney for comment.
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