Monday 26 February 2018

Garda inquiry into quadruple murder gathers pace

Garda forensics officers at the scene in Newcastle West. Photo: PA
Garda forensics officers at the scene in Newcastle West. Photo: PA

Detectives were today trying to piece together the final moments before two women and two children were violently murdered in a quiet suburban estate.

Three-year-old Reece Hines, his five-month-old sister Amy, their mother Sarah, 25, and her 20-year-old friend Alicia Brough were all found dead in Co Limerick.

It is not known how long their bodies were in the house in the Hazelgrove estate, Gortboy, in Newcastle West, before they were found shortly before 2pm yesterday.

An unemployed 31-year-old man, believed to be Ms Hines' partner, was arrested at a seaside spot in Co Clare several hours after the discovery.

Investigators have appealed for anyone who noticed anything suspicious in the previous 36 hours to come forward.

Door-to-door inquiries were being carried out throughout the morning in the first steps to build a picture of life in the family home.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy was to join a team of forensic officers at the scene to face the task of piecing together the series of events inside the well-kept semi-detached house.

The women's bodies were discovered downstairs and the youngsters upstairs. "It's awash with blood," said one seasoned officer.

The suspect had been tracked to Kilkee on the west coast after calling a friend from a public phone and was arrested in a bar where he was drinking a pint moments after eating a chicken curry dinner.

The quadruple murder suspect was being detained at Henry Street garda station in Limerick city.

It is understood Ms Hines lived in Tournafulla, Co Limerick, before moving to the area less than eight weeks ago. Ms Brough is from Rockchapel, Co Cork.

Few neighbours ventured outside their homes in the suburban estate during the morning which followed the discovery.

One woman, whose family are understood to let the house where the attack took place, arrived in a dark car and handed a bouquet of flowers to a garda at the scene before rushing off without saying a word.

Those who did stop for a few moments near the home only knew the young woman to see as she walked her children around the compact estate.

"On Sunday night there was music coming from the house but otherwise it was always quiet," said one man.


Fr Tony Mullins, administrator of the Diocese of Limerick, said prayers were being offered at all Masses this weekend.

"The horrific and tragic deaths of two young women and two children in Newcastle West on Tuesday has left the entire community in Limerick and beyond in shock and disbelief," he said.

"The unimaginable loss and trauma that is now being experienced by relatives, neighbours and friends stretches our capacity to cope with such a tragedy.

"Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and to all who are affected by this terrible tragedy.

"The community spirit that is so evident amongst the communities of Newcastle West and the surrounding parishes of Our Lady's pastoral area will help carry the heavy burden that has being laid on the shoulders of the families affected by these tragic deaths."

Diocesan counselling services were being made available to support those affected by this tragedy.

Press Association

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