Mairead's suspected attacker was 'well-known to her'
A YOUNG shop worker has died after a frenzied knife attack at a busy shopping centre.
The attacker walked away from the scene covered in his victim’s blood moments after he stabbed her several times in an unprovoked assault.
The victim, named locally as Mairead Moran (26), died just 20 minutes before she was scheduled to close the Holland & Barrett health food outlet in the Market Cross shopping centre in Kilkenny city.
Ms Moran was alone in the shop and the brief but violent attack was over before her desperate screams alerted other shopping centre workers to her plight.
Her attacker's entry into the shop and following escape from the scene was caught on CCTV camera footage.
It is not yet known if the knife used in the attack was recovered.
A 27-year-old man was arrested shortly after the fatal assault which occurred at 8.30pm last night.
He is currently being questioned in Kilkenny garda station and can be held for an initial period of 24 hours.
He was detained in the vicinity of the shopping centre.
The suspect under arrest is understood to have been known to the young woman for many years.
Local shop workers who knew Mairead Moran wept as they said that the busy retail area is in shock at the brutal killing.
“She was a lovely girl. I didn't know her too well but she always seemed to have a smile on her face,” one cafe worker said.
The shopping centre remained closed today as Garda technical experts conducted a detailed examination of the scene.
There was no attempt to rob the premises where Ms Moran worked.
Gardai are now investigating a motive for the fatal attack and whether Ms Moran may have been targeted because of a personal grudge.
The young woman suffered serious stab wounds to the chest and was rushed to nearby Kilkenny hospital.
Desperate attempts by surgeons to stabilise her condition failed and she was pronounced dead in the early hours of this morning.
Her family had raced to the hospital to be at her bedside and were comforted by a hospital chaplain when the young woman lost her battle for life.
Shocked shopping centre workers gathered outside its locked gates this morning and expressed disbelief at the tragedy.
“You just don't expect something like this to happen right on your doorstep. It is such a quiet area and Market Cross is a lovely place to work,” one worker said.