News Courts

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Teenager charged with mother's murder

Susan Dunne
Susan Dunne
Patrick Dunne
Garda at the house in Lixnaw Co Kerry
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

FRIENDS of tragic mother Susan Dunne, who was slain at her rural home, have paid tribute to her as a "devoted mother" and "treasured friend" who had dedicated her life to helping others.

A post-mortem at Kerry General Hospital confirmed the mother of three and autism campaigner had died violently.

Patrick Dunne (19) was charged with murder at Listowel garda station last night.

The investigation into the death was officially upgraded to a murder probe yesterday afternoon.

The neat, white bungalow that the mother and son shared showed little evidence of the horror which had unfolded within its walls on Wednesday morning.

The curtains at the front remained shut and an outside light above the front door was still on.

Friends left flowers and candles at the front gate.

Ms Dunne had moved in to the council house two years ago when a place became available for Patrick at the Nano Nagle special school in Listowel, 12km away.

Originally from the UK, she was very proud of her Irish roots and had revealed to friends she was tracing her family tree.

CAMPAIGN

Although it wouldn't have benefited her own son, she was leading a campaign for an autism unit at a community college in Tralee that would cater for children at post-primary level.

She had been chairperson of Kerry Autism Action, the local branch of Autism Ireland since 2009 and was due to attend its monthly meeting in Tralee on Wednesday night.

Ms Dunne also has two grown-up adult children living in the UK. Neighbours in Ballinageragh said mother and son were "inseparable" and were regularly seen driving together in her Toyota car.

One of her neighbours who discovered her body in a bedroom of the house on Wednesday morning was too upset to speak yesterday but said Mrs Dunne was a very private person. "She absolutely cherished her boy," the neighbour added.

Her friends at Kerry Autism Action described her as a "devoted mother" and "treasured friend".

Spokesman Domnick Walsh said: "Susan was a kind, caring, selfless lady and an inspiration to all and made a lasting impression on everyone she came in contact with.

"She was an invaluable source of guidance, support and encouragement to many special needs families. Susan was always willing to help or lend a listening ear when needed.

"She dedicated her life to helping others and in doing so touched the lives of so many people."

Irish Independent

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