Sunday 24 September 2017

Man held in murder probe as mum of five is buried

Mourners follow as family, including her son Niall and close friends, carry the coffin at Siobhan Stapleton's funeral in Co Kilkenny on Tuesday
Mourners follow as family, including her son Niall and close friends, carry the coffin at Siobhan Stapleton's funeral in Co Kilkenny on Tuesday
Siobhan Stapleton: victim

Conor Kane and Tom Brady

A MAN is being questioned by gardai investigating the murder of a mother of five, who was savagely attacked in her home last week.

The suspect, in his early 30s, was arrested yesterday afternoon and taken to Thomastown garda station in Co Kilkenny for questioning.

He was being held last night under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allowed gardai to detain him without charge for up to 24 hours, excluding rest periods.

His arrest came hours after the funeral Mass of Siobhan Stapleton (51), where the mourners were led by her husband, Peter, her son, Niall, who helped carry the coffin, and daughters Deirdre, Ciara, Grainne and Sinead.

Chief celebrant, Fr John Lalor told the congregation that there was "no honest answer" why a mother of five should be taken away from her family.

Huge crowds packed the small country church at Tullaherin, almost half-way between Thomastown and Bennettsbridge, and spilled out into the church grounds and the adjacent roadway for the funeral of the woman who was found with serious head injuries outside her house on Friday afternoon.

Over 1,000 mourners fell silent as Mrs Stapleton's remains were brought by hearse to St Kieran's Church.

Fr Lalor said it didn't seem so long since he celebrated the marriage of Siobhan and Peter, then "a young couple embarking on a lifelong journey".

"They were able to build up such a good life, because of the strengths they possessed and the strength of love and respect they had for each other."

He said Mrs Stapleton was a loving wife, a caring mother, loving daughter and sister who gave "her total energy and talents" to her marriage and the rearing of her children.

"Her love of place was evidently shown in her love of nature -- gardening, wildlife, her animals, her dogs, her avid reading and interest in Irish heritage. But her loyalty was divided here between GAA and the local soccer team."

Coffin

He quoted the first reading during the Mass -- "my soul is bereft of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is" -- and said such sentiments from the 'Book of Lamentations' represented how people were feeling at the moment, "with the disastrous death of Siobhan".

Fr Lalor said everyone was struggling for answers: why such a wife, mother, daughter, sister, should be taken.

After the funeral Mass, the bell rang out again across the Kilkenny countryside as her coffin was brought out of the church and on her last, short journey to the nearby cemetery for burial.

"The Stapleton and Kirwan families have suffered a great loss," Fr Lalor said earlier. "We all feel their loss and support them in it."

Irish Independent

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