Two men walked into a post office in Ireland and propped a corpse against the counter in an attempt to claim the dead man's pension.
Police said the men had returned to the post office with the corpse on Friday, after staff initially told them the recipient of a pension would have to be present for anyone to collect it.
On Saturday afternoon, the dead man was named locally as Peadar Doyle. It is understood the two suspects had wrapped a jumper around Doyle's face and a hat on his head in an attempt to disguise his real condition.
On their return shortly after, staff at Hosey's post office in Carlow expressed concern about the wellbeing of the man "being propped up" against the counter, prompting the pair to flee and leave him behind.
Post office staff called the emergency services after the two fled. An ambulance crew arrived shortly afterward and the man was declared dead at the scene.
Officers have described the case as "very sad". A Gardai source added: "To think someone wanted the pension so badly that they did this."
Doyle was aged 66 and believed to have died recently, though the Gardai said there was no evidence of foul play.
The incident stunned residents of the small town in south east Ireland.
"It's all anyone has been talking about… it is unbelievable," said a woman working in a beauty salon across the road from the post office.
Another woman, whose daughter saw the man being carried into the post office, said people thought he was suffering from a heart attack.
"She was leaving my house at the time and said the man looked unwell as his feet were dragging the ground," the woman told the Irish Independent. "It's a small shop and you're only allowed three at a time with social distancing. People were in shock as they thought he was after having a heart attack."
Fergal Brown, a Fine Gael councillor, said the incident was "very upsetting for everyone locally".
Browne said the deceased had been a "decent guy, very well regarded and liked and caused no offence to anybody. You couldn't make up what happened".
A house in the town, believed to be the deceased man's home, was later sealed off by police. It is also understood there were CCTV cameras in operation in the post office at the time of the incident.
The two who moved his body were described as younger than the deceased.
A post mortem is to be conducted to establish the cause of death and to confirm whether he was dead before being brought into the post office.
Ken Murnane, the Mayor of Carlow, said that he was "absolutely shocked" by what happened, adding: "I cannot believe anyone would do something like that. It beggars belief, I'm just shocked. It's like a Hitchcock movie."
- by Patrick Sawyer, Daily Telegraph UK