THE 26-year-old man accused of murdering Jolanta Lubiene (27) and her eight-year-old daughter, Enrika, in Killorglin almost three weeks ago maintained a stony silence as he sat in Killarney Courthouse on Tuesday morning.
Lithuanian national Aurimas Andruska, 7 Ardmoniel Heights, Killorglin, was escorted into the courthouse by plain-clothed gardaí shortly before 11am. Onlookers jeered as he got out of the garda van that brought him to court from Cork jail and a hush descended as he took his seat inside.
Wearing a light grey hooded jacket, black tracksuit bottoms and navy canvas trainers, his stare was fixed to the floor. With chiselled face, droopy eyes and short stubble, he remained motionless.
Next to a garda family liaison officer and watching from the gallery was Jolanta's sister, Kristina. She rocked back and forward as the court proceedings commenced. Jolanta's husband and Enrika's father, Marius, simply fixed his stare on the accused.
Mr Andruska spoke only to confirm that he understood that the charge of unlawfully killing eight-year-old Enrika had been withdrawn and would now be entered as murder.
Four days earlier the accused had stood before the same court where the charges were first read out. His arrest had followed more than 24 hours of questioning before his release at 1pm on Friday. He was re-arrested at School Road, Sunhill, Killorglin, shortly before 6.30pm that evening and later brought to Killarney Courthouse at high speed in a convoy of three unmarked garda cars.
A 100-strong crowd, who seemed to be mostly local with some children among them, had gathered in the Fairhill area around Killarney Court. At first they cheered but it soon turned to verbal abuse. The defendant kept his head down. When initially charged he had replied: "I did not kill, I can only tell" before being remanded in custody to appear in Killarney on Tuesday.
He will now appear at 10.30am in Tralee District Court next Tuesday.