New tests reveal tragic Emer died in savage beating
MURDERED student Emer O'Loughlin died from severe head and back injuries after being savagely attacked in her mobile home, which was then set ablaze.
Gardai intensified the hunt for her killer yesterday after new tests on her remains confirmed that she had been murdered.
Senior officers last night joined forces with Emer's father, John O'Loughlin, to make a fresh plea to the public for help in tracing her killer.
Mr O'Loughlin, from Ennistymon, Co Clare, said the results of the second post-mortem had verified what his family had suspected. "Anything that will bring closure, that will solve it, will help," he said.
He said it had been frustrating not knowing how his daughter was killed. "Was she harmed? Was she tortured or beaten or anything like that? Did she suffer?
"That is what we grieve about. We are hoping she didn't suffer," Mr O'Loughlin added.
The loving father said his daughter was always good to come home "for a cup of tea and a chat".
"She was a lovely girl. She might stay the night and tell us about her college and how she was getting on."
Emer studied art in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology until she was murdered at the age of 23 near the mobile home where she lived in Ballybornagh, Co Clare, in April 2005.
"Something was wrong with the electricity in her mobile home, so she went to another place to charge her mobile phone. We don't know what happened after that."
Mr O'Loughlin said the family believed they knew the identity of her killer but had no idea why she was killed.
He said it was upsetting for them that the culprit had not been caught yet.
"We would like to find out why," he said. "Why was a gentle soul murdered? She was so loving."
He urged anyone with information on Emer's killer to contact gardai immediately.
"People know him, they might even be hiding him. Come forward and give the information to the gardai," Mr O'Loughlin said.
Gardai are anxiously trying to track down a man who could prove key to their inquiries into Ms O'Loughlin's death.
He was known to the student and detectives believe he could provide vital information for their investigation.
Shortly after the fire, the man went missing and his clothes were found on a cliff-edge on Inis Mor in the Aran islands.
His description and details were circulated by the gardai, through Interpol, to all police forces around the world.
A senior officer said last night: "We are trying to trace anybody who might have been in contact with Emer in the hours leading up to her death."
Anyone with information has been asked to contact the incident room at Gort garda station, 091 636400, or the garda confidential line 1800 666 111.