Monday 19 August 2019

Irish grandmother died from severe head injuries in Netherlands home

Police at the scene of where the body of an Irishwoman was found
Police at the scene of where the body of an Irishwoman was found

Ralph Riegel and Isabel Conway

An Irish grandmother and mother-of-eight died from severe head injuries at her Dutch home.

The revelation came as the woman's husband, named locally as Arnold 'Arno' Viguurs, yesterday appeared before a court in the southern Dutch city of Den Bosch (s-Hertogenbosch) over the death of Martina O'Brien-Viguurs (64) last Monday.

Mr Viguurs, who is in his sixties, appeared before a Rights Commissioner who, in a brief hearing held in private, decided police had sufficient grounds for holding him in custody.

The Dutch national, a retired real estate vendor, will now appear again before a Den Bosch judge within the next 14 days.

Under Dutch law, a decision will then be taken about whether charges are brought.

A local newspaper reported that police were investigating whether the injuries were inflicted by a heavy, blunt object.

Dutch police confirmed they were treating the death as suspicious. Mrs O'Brien-Viguurs, a native of Limerick but who had lived in Cork, had been resident in the Netherlands for the past five years.


Mr Viguurs was detained by police on Monday after they were called to a property at Savornin Lohman Street in Den Bosch, an affluent city in the southern Dutch province of Brabant.

He is well known in the area, having been on the local carnival organising committee. His wife was discovered at the property and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is now liaising with the woman's Irish-based family, who were deeply shocked to be informed of her death on Monday evening.

Arrangements are already under way to return her remains to Cork from Den Bosch.

Mrs O'Brien-Viguurs is survived by her six daughters and two sons.

She also has 11 grandchildren. A native of Rathkeale, Co Limerick, she lived in the Douglas area of Cork before moving to the Netherlands.

Neighbours on Savornin Lohman Street described them as a friendly couple.

They said the property had been sold for €225,000, with the couple intending to retire to Ireland.

Mrs O'Brien-Viguurs' removal will be from her daughter's home in Douglas, Cork this evening. Her funeral is in Rathkeale Church tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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