Thursday 22 August 2019

Man charged with murder of mother-of-three who was stabbed to death in Dublin city apartment

Skaidrite Valdgeima
Skaidrite Valdgeima
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A LATVIAN man has been charged with the murder of a mother-of-three who was stabbed to death in a Dublin city centre apartment.

Valerijs Leitons (22) appeared in court this morning accused of killing Skaidrite Valdgeima (34), who was found fatally wounded on Wednesday.

He was remanded in custody by Judge John Cheatle, to appear in court again next week.

Mr Leitons, with an address at St Kevin's Gardens, Dartry is charged with the murder of Ms Valdgeima, who died after suffering fatal stab wounds in an apartment at Binary Hub, on Bonham Street in the south inner city on June 26.

He had been arrested on Wednesday and detained at Kevin Street Garda station before being charged.

Today, Detective Garda Inspector David Harrington gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution at Dublin District Court.

"At 9.03pm yesterday at Kevin Street Garda Station, I arrested the man before the court this morning, Valerijs Leitons, on suspicion of the murder of Skaidrite Valdgeima," he said.

Mr Leitons did not reply when cautioned. Then, following the directions of the DPP, the accused was charged in Det Insp Harrington's presence by the member in charge of the station, Garda Sergeant John Burke, at 10.08pm.

Mr Leitons made no reply to the charge after caution and was handed a copy of the charge sheet.

Det Insp Harrington said Mr Leitons was assisted by a Russian translator throughout his time in custody. An interpreter also assisted the accused in court.

His barrister Eamonn O'Moore made no bail application this morning as bail can only be granted at High Court level on a murder charge. The judge granted free legal aid after Mr O'Moore said the accused was in receipt of disability allowance and handed a statement of his financial means into court.

The judge directed that the accused is to receive all relevant medical and psychiatric assistance while in custody.

Mr Leitons, dressed in a grey sweater, navy blue tracksuit bottoms and dark runners and with his right thumb in a bandage, sat at the side of the courtroom and was not required to speak during the brief hearing.

He has not yet indicated how he intends to plead to the charge.

He will appear in Cloverhill District Court on July 5.

Ms Valdgeima, a Latvian interpreter, lived with her husband and children at Deerpark Walk, Blessington, Co Wicklow. Gardai were called to the Bonham Street apartment at 3.40am, finding her seriously injured. She was taken to St James’s Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

Ms Valdgeima came to Ireland when she was in her mid-20s. She had completed a number of third-level courses here and worked in retail, graphic design and building websites.

More recently, she had been working for a Dublin-based company specialising in translation, a job she held at the time of her death.

Gardaí sealed-off two crime scenes as part of the inquiry in the hours after the incident. One was at the apartment block on Bonham Street, while the second was on nearby Bridgefoot Street.

The apartment complex contains student accommodation.

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