News National Police under criticism over missing Irishman

Police under criticism over missing Irishman

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Police have been  criticised by the family of Irishman Donal O’Sullivan who was found unconscious in a Sydney stairwell and remains in critical condition in a hospital after disappearing for five days.

In an almost fatal end to an early morning drinking session, Mr O’Sullivan was found half naked, lying in a pool of blood in a stairwell of an office block in Sydney on Wednesday night.

It is believed the 33-year-old man was trying to make his way to the Easts Leagues Club on Saturday morning following a drinking session with his brother, Johnnie.

However, he was found on the seventh floor of the neighbouring, East Tower commercial, five days later by a cleaner.

Phoenix Cleaning manager Saade Saliba was conducting a random check of the area and came across a body obstructing the door to the sixth floor landing.

“We didn’t hear anything,” East Tower body corporate manager Robert Goodsell said. “If there was any crying out or yelling, people would have heard straight away.”

Friends and family criticised the police investigation, suggesting officers initially fobbed off the missing persons report as “just another drunk Irishman” and took days to properly investigate, according to reports in Fairfax.

Mr O’Sullivan’s brother went to the police on Sunday evening and said the disappearance was completely out of character for his brother, who is a carpenter and pipe layer from County Clare – living in Australia for the last two years.

Police released an appeal for information on Wednesday afternoon and accessed bank accounts and phone records on Tuesday.

Johnnie told The Irish Echo he had called police every day but they were “very slow in responding”.

A friend, Gavin Anderson, said: “They didn’t take it very seriously, there were remarks about his nationality.”

Family members flew from Ireland to help with the search and rescue organised by Mr O’Sullivan’s family and friends.

Acting commander of eastern suburbs police Ana Loughman defended the investigation, saying “immediately on receipt of the report … an extensive report was furnished on our system and a state-wide message went out”.

Hospitals and nearby businesses were contacted, she said.

She said she had “no idea” how or why Mr O Sullivan ended up in the East Tower fire escape, but he had been drinking on Friday night and Saturday morning.

CCTV footage showed him at the Tea Gardens Hotel on Saturday morning until he left his brother at 10.30am.

Mr O’Sullivan commuted from Bondi to Canberra during the week to work for KNF Construction.

His friend Mr O Donovan said it was not unusual to go for a beer on Saturday mornings after working 84-hour weeks, with a very long commute.