‘It’s disgusting to think anyone could do that’ – family’s grief at talented musician Tom Kennedy’s murder in Georgia

The brutal death of a talented and popular young musician from Mayo has devastated his family and the wider community.

om Kennedy (28) from Laherdane, Co Mayo, was attacked and beaten to death by five assailants in Georgia in Eastern Europe, where he had been attending a music college.

Kennedy was one of seven siblings who moved from Manchester to Mayo when he was a young child.

Mr Kennedy’s first cousin Olivia Barrett said Mark’s family are devastated by his death.

“It’s very hard to accept what has happened to Mark. When we heard his body had been found, we couldn’t believe it and wondered what could have happened to him.

“To hear he was murdered is just unreal. It’s just disgusting to think how anybody could do that to someone.

“He was an amazing person, and he was the last person deserving of this.

“The people who did this to him are horrible. They deserve to rot in hell.”

Mr Kennedy was found dead after he was beaten to death and thrown unconscious into the Mtkvari River near the village of Kvakhvreli in Gori municipality.

Mr Kennedy was out socialising when a verbal and physical fight broke out with a group of local men.

Local media reported the 28-year-old’s body was found on October 8.

Four Georgian men and one boy have been arrested on suspicion of murder and face 13 to 17 years in prison if convicted.

The Mayo native studied at a local music college after arriving in Georgia from Ireland on August 30, 2021.

Local news said police had found Mr Kennedy’s mobile phone at a local pawn shop where it was traded for cash following his death.

“In all of this, we have been blown away by the generosity of the Irish community,” Ms Barrett said.

“They have shown us that people are good, but we have been exposed to the worst of the worst.

“Tom was a gentle soul. He loved music, he was self-taught, and he was so talented. He could play the guitar, the fiddle, the harmonica, you name it.

“He used to busk in Castlebar, Galway and Cork – he just wanted to get his music out there.

“He used to always say ‘someday I’ll be heard’, and it’s so sad that it has taken for him to pass away for his music to be heard.

“Now everybody realises how talented he was. I hope he is up in heaven, appreciating the fact everyone is enjoying his music.

“It’s just awful to think he has been taken from the world.”

The family of the musician said they were “absolutely devastated” by his death.

“Life will never be the same again without our beautiful, talented boy … He died brutally and tragically,” they wrote on GoFund Me campaign page started to finance the repatriation of Mr Kennedy’s body back to Ireland.

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