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Murderer's mother spurns gesture of solidarity in court

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Jolanta Lubite and her daughter Enrika

Jolanta Lubite and her daughter Enrika

Aurimas Andruska

Aurimas Andruska

Murder victim eight-year-old Enrika Lubiene

Murder victim eight-year-old Enrika Lubiene

Murder victim Jolanta Lubiene

Murder victim Jolanta Lubiene

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Jolanta Lubite and her daughter Enrika

It was a gesture of solidarity from one mother to another in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

One woman's son had just been convicted of double murder for the vicious and pointless stabbing to death of a little girl and her mother.

The other woman, offering her sympathy with her hand extended in friendship, was the mother and grandmother of his victims.

They were both in a court in a foreign country where they do not speak the language; two Lithuanian women trying to bear up under the strain of a difficult 20-day trial.

There was a brief exchange between the two before the murderer's mother snatched away her hand and went to speak to her son before he was taken away in handcuffs by Prison Service officers.

Afterwards, Kristina Kuleviciene, the god-mother and sister of the victims, said her mother had been asked by the murderer's mother why she was "pretending".

Ramute Santiene's world has changed beyond recognition since the events of the weekend of June 15, 2013, when her beloved daughter Jolanta and cherished granddaughter Enrika were murdered by Aurimas Andruska (28), a forestry worker who had been a semi-professional footballer in Lithuania and knew the victims.

He had a previous conviction for acquiring and storing heroin and was a user of the drug when he arrived in Ireland - first in 2008 for an eight-month period, returning again in February 2013.

Virdzinija Andruskiene has been in court for a lot of her son's trial, sometimes accompanied by her other son Lukas (15), and always in the company of her son's Killorglin-based Lithuanian friends, some of whom had played a key part in the trial and knew Jolanta and Enrika.

Ms Santiene also lost her husband Ruminates Santes to cancer, just three months after the murders.

He is buried with his daughter and granddaughter in their native Lithuania.

His daughter, Kristina, blames Andruska for his death also."The moment he was told he had lost his daughter Jolanta and his granddaughter Enrika, I knew it broke him. But when he was told they were murdered, my dad was so upset he stopped fighting his disease that day.

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"He lost his will to fight that day and I believe this tragic loss is what caused him to give up fighting," she said in her victim impact statement read out in court.

She said it was far too soon after putting her murdered sister and beautiful god-daughter Enrika to rest in their grave that her father was laid to rest with them in that same grave.

She described how painful it was now to look at her mother.

"Here is a woman who has lost a daughter and a granddaughter she raised and loved so dearly.

"Her joy and laughter are gone now. Even her beautiful smile has left her face. I can see in her life all that remains is just endless, daily pain and constant suffering at the huge loss in her life."

Kristina can also see a deterioration in her mother's health that is adding to her own worries.

"Without even a partner in her life, when she does return home, pain and suffering is all she will have left to live with there. All of this has destroyed her and left her broken."

One of the hardest things to deal with throughout the trial for the family, has been the tarnishing of Jolanta's reputation by friends of the killer and some of the most intimidate details of her private life being made public.

For her sister, these are simply "lies" pedalled by people who pretended to be Jolanta's friends and then betrayed her.

Andruska didn't mention a sexual encounter he claimed to have had with her in his witness statement.

He later told gardai, during an interview after his arrest, this was out of respect for her husband, Marius Lubys.

He said when he called around to her house at No 9 Langford Downs on Friday night, June 14, with a bottle of rum to thank Jolanta for DVDs she had given him the previous Tuesday night, she invited him to call back later when Enrika was asleep.

Andruska claimed she performed oral sex on him that night in the sitting room.

It was also Andruska and his close friend Vitaljus Krivobokovas who claimed she had been planning a swingers' party before she left Ireland to return to Lithuania.

It was only in their victim impact statements that Jolanta's family had a chance to speak up for her.

Kristina said: "I'm not saying to you that Jolanta was perfect. But to be fair, I don't think there are many of us who are really that perfect. We all make mistakes, after all, we are human.

"Jolanta was also a trusting person. In June 2013 she trusted Aurimas Andruska, the person who simply came to collect DVDs she was giving away. A person from her own Lithuanian community.

"But she made a mistake to be so trusting and Aurimas Andruska not only broke her trust, he destroyed it."

Co-founder and national chairman of the Federation for Victim Assistance Mairead Fernane who accompanied the family to court throughout the 20-day trial, said it was "five weeks of horror" for them.

Ms Fernane said the ordeal was made all the more difficult because so much was said about Jolanta it brought home to them very much that she was not there to stand up for herself.

Ms Fernane said it was a "privilege" to have worked with a "very decent and honest" family who were very appreciative of all the help they got and that it was "heartening" to have been able to do something.

She also praised the gardai, especially Garda Jason O'Mahony who has been the family liaison officer for the last year and a half.

"You could see he was someone who cared about them. He had become involved with them and they were lucky to have him. They were so grateful for everything and could not speak highly enough of Jason O'Mahony," she added.

She said the family were also very aware of the support the people of Killorglin gave them and it left a "good taste in their mouths" that people cared about them.

Under Irish law, Andruska was presumed innocent until proven guilty. His victims' family said it was a different system in Lithuania but they could certainly see its merits.

A Lithuanian immigrant on legal aid, Andruska was represented by respected senior counsel Brendan Grehan, assisted by Dean Kelly and instructed by Co Limerick-based solicitor Michael O'Donnell.

But of comfort to the Lubiene family was the way the investigation, headed by Supt Flor Murphy and Det Insp Fearghail Patwell, was handled.

A core group of around 20 gardai worked on the investigation, assisted at various stages by 30 more members that worked with Interpol and even flew to Germany to consult with a shoe manufacturer that markets Memphis One shoes, the type of shoe worn by Andruska on the morning of the murders.

Nothing was spared in bringing Aurimas Andruska to justice because the brutal murder of a mother and child in their home offended all of us.


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