THE man found dead in "suspicious" circumstances in a Dublin flat on Friday was the only son of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ronan Keane, and his ex-wife, gossip columnist Terry Keane.

The body of Timothy Keane (39) was found with multiple injuries to the back of his head in his Harold's Cross home.

Gardaí believe that the dead man's remains may have lain undiscovered in the flat for several days.

The dead man was a brother of journalist Madeline Keane and a brother-in-law of the celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin.

His mother, Terry, who recently overcame a battle against cancer, was involved in a long-term relationship with disgraced former taoiseach Charles Haughey.

While gardaí have been unable to pinpoint the cause of Timothy Keane's death, and were yesterday still treating it as "suspicious", sources close to the family said that there was no indication that the death was caused by foul play or suicide.

Chief Justice Keane, who is due to retire tomorrow week on his 72nd birthday after an acclaimed judicial tenure, asked yesterday that the family's privacy be respected.

Timothy Keane was a writer and had contributed articles to the Sunday Independent several years ago. He has not worked as a journalist for some time.

Neighbours said the dead man had a reclusive lifestyle in recent times and had only left the house once a week to purchase household goods. He lived alone in what gardaí described as a small flat. They were yesterday making house-to-house enquiries to piece together his last movements.

He was not believed to have had a wide circle of friends.

Sources close to the family described the dead man as "very quiet and highly sensitive". They added that while he was "not particularly close" to his mother and father, he was certainly not estranged from either parent.

Formal identification of the dead man was delayed yesterday as gardaí were waiting to contact Terry Keane, who now resides in France.

Timothy Keane's body was found by his landlord on Friday afternoon and gardaí were alerted immediately.