A YOUNG girl was murdered before her mother because she recognised their attacker, gardai believe.
Murder detectives now believe that the killer stabbed eight-year-old Enrika Lubyte in the throat in front of her mother, Jolanta Lubiene, before before unleashing a crazed attack on the 27-year-old Lithunanian.
An examination of the scene indicated that Jolanta was stabbed initially upstairs, near where her daughter was killed on the landing.
She was then pursued downstairs as she tried to escape through the back door before being attacked again in the kitchen.
But they have ruled out suggestions that the killer could have been lying in wait for Jolanta when she arrived back to her rented house at Langford Downs in Killorglin, Co Kerry, on Saturday afternoon.
Officers are focusing part of their murder inquiries on the Lithuanian community as they believe that Jolanta knew the killer.
One investigating officer said last night: "There seems to be no reason why the little girl was killed unless the murderer was concerned that he could be identified."
Jolanta had been shopping in the town after her morning's work while Enrika was cared for by neighbours.
But gardai have established that Jolanta had put the shopping in cupboards and also had food cooking in the oven before she was stabbed more than 20 times in a frenzied assault.
Officers from the garda technical bureau have completed their detailed examination of the house and a local garda search team has moved in to check on Jolanta's personal possessions for possible clues to the identity of the killer.
They are taking away items such as diaries and notebooks where Jolanta might have written
the names of friends or acquaintances that were not known previously to have associated with her.
Gardai said that an initial search of her mobile phone and internet activities had not yet turned up any vital information but pointed out that a large number of inquiries arising from that were still being pursued.
Officers are continuing to look for the murder weapon in a 14-acre field at the rear of the house as the killer could have made his escape through the back door and discarded it there.
House-to-house inquiries in the estate have so far failed to unearth anybody who left the house in an obviously agitated state and with heavily bloodstained clothing.
There were no signs of blood outside the house, although gardai acknowledged that there had been heavy rain in the area before the two bodies were discovered after a friend called to the house on Sunday night.
Superintendent Flor Murphy, the officer leading the garda investigation, said last night that there was no evidence to suggest that the killer had left the country.
He said gardai were getting a good response from the public and appeals for help had also been issued through the local media in Lithuania.
Supt Murphy said it was horrific that a mother and daughter had been slaughtered in their house but he wanted to allay the public's concerns about the killer being on the loose.
He said the community could help by providing whatever information they might have about sightings in the Langford Downs estate or along Langford Street, where Jolanta walked home from the shops shortly before 2pm.
Marius Lubys (29), the husband and father of the victims, said it was his wish to bring them home to Lithuania for burial so that family and friends could attend the funeral.
The community in Killorglin, through a collection organised by St Vincent de Paul Society, has raised thousands of euro to help the family with the costs.
It is expected this will be enough to repatriate the bodies, cover the funeral costs and possibly help the family with their expenses.