News Irish News

Monday 18 December 2017

Devastated parents make long journey to collect son's body

Gardai on patrol outside the apartment block in Rialto, Dublin, where Thomas Heinrich was stabbed to death
Gardai on patrol outside the apartment block in Rialto, Dublin, where Thomas Heinrich was stabbed to death
German student Thomas Heinrich, who died following a stabbing incident in Rialto, Dublin

Tom Brady, Nicola Anderson and Cormac McQuinn

THE parents of murdered student Thomas Heinrich are "devastated" after making the trip from Germany to collect their dead son.

Mr Heinrich was knifed several times in the stomach and sustained a severed artery after he and his friend became involved in an argument with two youths.

Classmates in Germany and Ireland were united in grief with some foreign students considering cutting short their time here after the horror attack.

Three other people were injured in stabbings in Dublin at the weekend, sparking fresh concerns about street knife crime.

Mr Heinrich's friend Robert Rinker, from Stuttgart, was also badly injured outside their apartment in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The young students, both 22, were post-graduate students and studying international media management.

They were due to return home shortly before Christmas.

A teenage suspect was detained yesterday on suspicion of withholding information about the shocking crime.

Three teenagers have now been arrested in connection with the killing, as well as one teen's mother, but all had been released without charge last night.

The stabbing spree has stunned students and academics at both Griffith College in Dublin, where the friends were studying, and at their main college in Munich.

The President of Griffith College, Prof Diarmuid Hegarty, met Mr Heinrich's parents as they came to terms with their loss.

He said: "They're devastated. They're very brave – I must say, they really are. We're obviously providing them with as much support as we can."

Both Mr Heinrich and Mr Rinker were also students at the MHMK Macromedia School for Media and Communication in Munich.

Lessons there were suspended to allow students to gather together in their grief.

The president of that college, Herbert Schmid-Eickhoff also flew into Dublin with a number of committee members from the college.

In a brief comment on the stabbing, he said: "We are deeply shocked by the attack and mourn with the families."

The 44 remaining German students studying here have now been told that they may go home and sit their exams back in Germany if they wish.

The Munich university plans to host a memorial service later this week.

A book of condolences has been opened at Griffith College and counselling services are continuing for distressed students.

At the Herberton apartment building, where the German friends were living, bouquets of flowers had been placed at the door yesterday.


The two young men had been standing on the balcony of their first-floor apartment at St Anthony's Road after a night out, shortly before tragedy struck.

Words were exchanged with locals who left the scene and returned with knives.

During the attack Mr Rinker was stabbed in the hands and also received a cut to the side of his head. He was taken to the intensive care unit at St James's Hospital but his condition has since improved.

Gardai arrested a 16-year-old local youth for questioning at lunchtime on Saturday, while a 19-year-old later walked into a station and was detained.

The mother of one of the youths was arrested on Sunday afternoon for allegedly withholding information about the stabbing.

All three were later released without charge and gardai at Kilmainham are currently preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought.

The third teenager was arrested on Sunday night and taken to Pearse Street station for questioning.

Gardai were last night continuing to conduct inquiries in the Rialto area.

Meanwhile, officers investigating the stabbing of a young woman at Spring Garden Street, off Pearse Street, on Saturday morning are following a definite line of inquiry.

The woman was stabbed in the hand when she was attacked by two men in a premises and was taken to St James's Hospital where she underwent treatment for her injuries.

The two attackers fled on foot in the direction of College Green but gardai said last night they were making substantial progress with their inquiries.

In another stabbing incident at the weekend, a 22-year-old man was slashed several times in the chest during an incident in a pub in the Dolphin's Barn area on Sunday night.

The man was not seriously injured – although he was treated at St James's Hospital.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News