Thursday 22 March 2018

Happy, popular little girl was all set to embark on new adventure

Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

IRELAND was the only home she ever knew, but plans had been made for little Enrika Lubyte to embark on a new life in Lithuania where her parents came from.

But her future was stolen in a frenzied attack at the weekend in which her throat was cut and she was left to die on the landing of her home while her mother, Jolanta Lubiene (27), suffered multiple stab wounds that ended her life in the kitchen.

In the past year, Jolanta had spoken of returning home to Telsiai in the western part of the country and, according to friends, had even started packing.

Her father, Rimantas Sante, had become gravely ill with liver cancer and she was anxious that her daughter would get to know him and her mother, Rumote Santiene.

But Enrika was not without family in Killorglin. Her aunt and uncle, Kristina and Vaidas Kulevicius, and her cousins lived only 10km away in Milltown and everyone doted on the little eight-year-old who had proudly celebrated her First Communion with the second class at Scoil Mhuire in May.

Her blonde hair and smiling face were a familiar sight in Langford Downs where she played with local children and rode her bike.

Neighbours Artur and Renata Libera, who brought Enrika to school every day, said she was a lovely child who always had a smile on her face.

"She played with my son every day and was always smiling and happy," Mr Libera said.

The Liberas last saw her on Friday, having dropped her to school as usual that morning.

But behind the smiling face, life for her mother had its difficulties. Her husband, Marius, whom she had first met when she was only 17, had left to work in Sweden about six months ago and she was unsure about whether she would join him there or return to Lithuania.

"She was happy here but it was difficult for her being separated from Marius," her brother-in-law Vaidas Kulevicius told the Irish Independent.

Jolanta also held down a job working as a chef in St Joseph's Day Care Centre where she was very popular.

Before that, she had worked in Keane's SuperValu for a year and a half, where her former employer, Peter Keane, described her as a "nice lady" and a good worker.

Jolanta had come to Ireland in 2005 with her husband. Their plans were to work here for a few years and eventually return home.

But when Enrika arrived and then started school, she became embedded in life in Killorglin and, according to her friend Helen O'Shea, made friends easily and was popular in the community.

Mrs O'Shea and Jolanta planned to stay in touch after she left Killorglin in July.

Irish Independent

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