Mother collapses as grief becomes too much to bear
IT was just all too much. On hearing that a man had been arrested on suspicion of her missing daughter's murder, Winnie Greene collapsed.
An ambulance had to be called to her terraced house in Athlone town centre. Her worried family also rallied round, but reality was sinking in fast.
In fact, within hours of Marie's disappearance, Winnie had a feeling something sinister had happened.
Winnie's extended family arrived in Athlone last night as word spread of Marie's murder. In a nearby house, Marie's cousins talked about her good nature.
"She was a very nice, down-to-earth woman who was good to her family," said her first cousin Derek Horan.
He said he was worried about Marie. "We always were worried over her getting into cars," he said. "We're her cousins and we looked out for her."
Another relative said Marie only ever accepted lifts from men known to her.
It was not like Marie not to contact her mother. She kept to her routine and would always return home to look after her mum and feed her dogs.
She did everything for Winnie, and her cousins relied on her to take care of elderly family members.
The petite 5ft 5in woman with fair hair was a familiar face in Athlone. She was "one of the locals", born and bred in the area.
The mother of two had a tough life and looked older than her 37 years. She didn't drink but friends said she suffered "more than her fair share of hardship".
Her family's home, which is surrounded by boarded up houses, tells its own story. Most of the houses at St Mel's have been demolished after being condemned by the council and as part of the regeneration of Athlone.
Yesterday, Winnie did not want to talk to anyone who called to her home. Her pain is made all the worse because she has no body to mourn.