Monday 19 February 2018

Son (25) due in court over fatal stabbing of Roscommon woman

Mother of two died on roadside

Brian McDonald

The son of the woman stabbed to death in Roscommon on Saturday has been charged in connection with the incident.

Paul Henry (25) is due to appear before a sitting of Galway district court at 10.30am this morning.

A passer-by made a desperate attempt to fight off the attacker of a mother of two as she was fatally stabbed in broad daylight.

Ann Henry (49) was repeatedly knifed at a house she had been renting in Roscommon town. She attempted to flee her attacker, but collapsed and later died within yards of her front door.

The tragedy unfolded at about 2.30pm on Saturday as Ms Henry travelled from her home in Athlone to the house she had previously been renting at the Spinney, close to the landmark Abbey Hotel in Roscommon town.

Ms Henry and her husband, Phelim Henry -- a national school principal -- have been living apart for some time. They have two sons, Paul (25) and Phelim Jr (24). Ms Henry had previously worked as a bank official.

She had vacated the detached, red-bricked house some time ago and had returned to the Spinney to spend the afternoon cleaning it, before handing it back to the landlord.

Detectives have been trying to establish the exact sequence of events that followed, but a local man, who was parking his car in the immediate vicinity, went to her aid when he saw her in a distressed state, just outside her front door.

He confronted her attacker, who initially ran off, before returning with a brush in an attempt at a second attack. He was again fended off, as another passer-by arrived to lend assistance.

An ambulance and gardai were on the scene shortly afterwards and a desperate attempt began to save Ms Henry's life.

A local doctor arrived and, along with paramedics, worked on Ms Henry as she lay on the roadside.

She was moved inside the ambulance, but after more than an hour of emergency treatment she died.

Gardai later confirmed that a man in his 20s was arrested in the area. He was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and his period of initial detention was extended by a further 12 hours yesterday.

Ms Henry's body was removed to Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe late on Saturday afternoon and a post-mortem examination was carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Michael Curtis.

It was completed yesterday evening but gardai said they were not releasing the results "for operational reasons".

The area was sealed off for a full forensic examination and detectives and uniformed officers carried out house-to-house queries over the weekend.

Neighbours were stunned at the violent killing, but most said that they knew little about Ms Henry as she had kept to herself and lived a quiet life during her time at the Spinney.

Next-door neighbour, Eudes Paixao -- a Brazilian national -- said that, while he had never got to know Ms Henry well, she was a pleasant woman who would always say hello.

"I would only meet her when parking the car outside, but she was a very nice lady and it is a tragedy for her family," Mr Paixao said.

Friends and neighbours who arrived at the house left bunches of flowers at the entrance as a mark of respect. One message read "Always in my thoughts. You were an absolute lady and a good friend".

Prayers were said for Ms Henry at masses in Roscommon yesterday.

Irish Independent

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