Gardai question prime suspect in murders of mum and girl (8)
A MAN being questioned by gardai about the murders of Jolanta Lubiene and her daughter Enrika is regarded as the prime suspect in the investigation.
Armed officers detained the 26-year-old Lithuanian at an address where he had been living recently on the outskirts of Killorglin, Co Kerry.
They swooped on the house shortly before 6am yesterday, after making a decision to arrest him late on Wednesday night, following a review of information that had emerged.
The house is less than a mile from the home of the two victims, who were both stabbed to death on the afternoon of June 15 last.
Gardai said last night that the suspect would have been known to the victims because there was a small Lithuanian community in the area, but pointed out that he was not a close friend of Jolanta.
He is being held at Killarney garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
His period of detention was extended for the second time last night and he can be kept in custody, without charge, for a maximum of 24 hours, excluding rest periods.
A divisional search team moved into his house yesterday morning and carried out a detailed check. Neighbours of the arrested man said they were awoken by "loud banging".
John Langham, whose son celebrated his First Communion with Enrika in May, said: "I could hear all this banging and shouting when they were trying to get the door open."
This was the second arrest in connection with the investigation. On Sunday morning, gardai detained a man in his 40s on suspicion of withholding information, but he was released without charge on Monday
The killer called to the victims' home at Langford Downs sometime between 2.30pm and 5.30pm before carrying out a savage attack, stabbing Jolanta well over 20 times in the body, arms and hands as she tried to defend herself as well as stabbing her eight-year-old daughter in the throat.
Investigating gardai initially believed that Jolanta had been murdered over personal issues, because of the ferocity of the attack, but said last night they were now examining a number of possible motives.
Since the two bodies were found in their rented home last Sunday week, more than 26 hours after they were murdered, gardai have been working on the basis that Jolanta and Enrika knew their killer. The killer grabbed Jolanta's two mobile phones before he left but it is not yet clear whether any money was stolen.
Gardai believe the two were killed with a large knife but have so far been unable to locate the weapon, despite an extensive search of the estate and a field at the rear of the houses.
Jolanta had been planning to leave the country in the middle of next month. She had been living here since 2005. Her husband, Marius, left in December to work on a farm in Sweden and said his plan was for Jolanta to join him and then they would eventually return to Lithuania.
Meanwhile, south Kerry coroner Terence Casey confirmed he had formally released the remains of the two victims yesterday, but funeral arrangements have yet to be made.
The bodies are to be repatriated to Lithuania and a massive fundraising effort has been under way through the St Vincent de Paul to help the family meet the costs.