Detectives believe hurley used to murder tragic mum
GARDAI suspect mother-of-three Catherine Smart was battered to death with a hurley.
The implement was recovered near the murder scene in Midleton, Co Cork, and is currently being examined by forensic and technical experts for traces of blood and hair.
The discovery came as Mrs Smart's sister, Ann Vaughan, said the entire family are "deeply shocked" by the violence the 57-year-old victim was subjected to.
Ms Vaughan added: "She would never harm anyone."
Ms Vaughan said she had last met her sister at the funeral of their mother, Mary, three years ago -- and that Mrs Smart was well liked in Midleton where she had spent almost 30 years.
"She had a lot of friends there and people have been telephoning me to express their sadness over her death. It has been a very traumatic time for us all," she added.
Funeral arrangements have been delayed to allow family members to travel from overseas.
Mrs Smart was struck from behind on the skull with a blunt, heavy implement while she was in the kitchen of her home at Bailick Court, Midleton, on Sunday.
Detectives believe the fatal assault occurred sometime between 5am and 9.45am.
A man in his late 40s was arrested by gardai in connection with the incident but was released without charge in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The man was arrested at Douglas Street in Cork city shortly after 4pm on Monday and taken to Midleton garda station for questioning about the precise circumstances of Mrs Smart's death.
Under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, the man could be questioned for a period of 24 hours. A file on the matter will now be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mrs Smart's body was discovered lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood at 9.35am on Sunday. She had visible head injuries and was partially clothed.
Earlier that morning, she had been assisted by gardai to gain admission to her Bailick Court home after returning from a night out socialising.
The alarm was raised by a local man who telephoned 999 -- and Mrs Smart was pronounced dead at the scene by a Midleton GP.
Detectives have ruled out any question of a break-in at her home. Mrs Smart was separated from her husband.
Her three children -- two sons and a daughter -- are now all aged in their 20s and have lived in South Wales for a number of years. Her former husband also lives in Wales.