Arrest after 27 years in cold case murder of pensioner
A man has been arrested for the gruesome murder of a 79-year-old widow in Kilkenny city 27 years ago.
The partly burned remains of Ann Nancy Smyth were discovered in her small cottage on Wolfe Tone Street in September 1987.
Her loyal pet dog was found standing guard over her strangled body by firefighters who responded to a blaze after the killer tried to cover up the crime.
For years the brutal slaying remained unsolved but following a public appeal in 2012 gardaí opened a cold case file in the hopes of solving the killing.
A 52-year-old man was arrested by detectives in Kilkenny yesterday afternoon and is due to appear before Kilkenny District Court this morning where he is expected to be charged with Ms Smyth's murder.
On the night she was killed, she had been socialising in O'Gorman's Pub near her home.
Ms Smyth, who had lost her husband a few months earlier, had accepted the offer of a lift home.
Soon after she arrived home, she was seen having an argument with a young man.
A short time later, at around 5am, a passer-by saw flames coming out of her sitting room window.
Firefighters discovered her body on the sitting room floor but an autopsy revealed she had been strangled before her home was set alight.
It is believed the man who she had been arguing with knocked on a neighbour's door to ask for a cigarette midway through the row.