Thursday 21 September 2017

'It's so sad' - Child may have seen the 'violent death' of young mother

Rita Apine
Rita Apine

Ken Foy and Conor Kane

A child may have witnessed the suspected violent death of a 29-year-old woman who was found with fatal injuries at her home.

Gardaí were continuing to question a 30-year-old man last night in relation to the murder of Rita Apine, who was found at the property in Freshford, Co Kilkenny, shortly before 1pm on Sunday.

Sources say that Latvian national Ms Apine was "in fear of this man" and gardaí have been investigating if she previously suffered violence. Officers are also considering involving specialist child interviewers to establish if the child had witnessed the events that led to Ms Apine's death.

The suspect, who was arrested on Sunday evening, continued to be detained at Kilkenny garda station last night. Officers are probing whether the fatal injuries suffered by Ms Apine (pictured) happened as a result of being thrown down the stairs of her home or if the tragic mum may have been "struck with an object" which caused her to fall down the stairs at the apartment on Bridge Street.

Ms Apine moved into a rented house on Bridge Street in Freshford last December having lived for some time in Kilkenny city before that.

The suspected murder victim and her daughter moved into the private rented house in Freshford late last year, having initially sought housing from Kilkenny County Council, and previously lived at St Teresa's Terrace in the city.

Rita Apine
Rita Apine

Ms Apine was not working but was hoping to learn to drive later this year and seek work when her daughter started pre-school.

"She came to my clinic, looking for help for housing and with a social welfare application," Cllr Andrew McGuinness said yesterday. "That would have been in June of last year. I don't know how long she was in Ireland."

The 29-year-old mother had just come out of a relationship at the time and was looking for accommodation as a single mother.

Ms Apine always brought her daughter to a nearby public park anytime she called to the councillor's office. He said: "It's so sad, for the child and for the family."

The house where Ms Apine lived in Freshford, on a three-house terrace just off the village's main square, was yesterday sealed off by gardaí and members of the Garda Technical Bureau carried out a forensic examination.

Bouquets of flowers were left by local people.

Gardaí made an appeal for anybody who visited the Costcutter shop, just across the road from the victim's home, or was on Bridge Street between 8am and 1pm on Sunday "and who may have heard or noticed anything out of the ordinary" to contact them.

Irish Independent

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