Thursday 19 April 2018

Kerry was the only home 'little chatterbox' Enrika had known

Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

A SMALL town that woke up to a nightmare is struggling to comprehend the unprecedented savagery that has shaken it to its core.

Usually attention is focused on Killorglin, Co Kerry, during its famed Puck Fair each August.

This week, however, locals have stood in solidarity with their immigrant neighbours – described as "hard workers" and an "asset to the community" – and raised thousands of euro to help repatriate the bodies of eight-year-old Enrika Lubyte and her mother Jolanta Lubiene (27) to Lithuania.

The murders of the popular pair at their home last Saturday afternoon have horrified the people of Killorglin.

Yesterday, the forensic examination of the rented semi-detached house ended with the family's possessions piled high inside the window to allow investigators to comb the scene for clues.

Jolanta and her husband, Marius Lubys, who had been separated by work, were planning to be reunited as a family next month – they were due to meet in Telsiai in the northwest of Lithuania in two weeks' time.

Now Mr Lubys (29) is instead planning his wife and daughter's funerals.

He had shared the house in Langford Downs with his wife and daughter until last December when he left for Sweden where his brother-in-law had set him up with work on a farm.

DREAM

Mr Lubys told the Irish Independent they had planned to leave Enrika in Lithuania with her grandparents, and Jolanta would go to work in Sweden with him for a while.

The ultimate plan was for them all resettle in their native country. It was their dream, said Mr Lubys.

Last Saturday afternoon, that dream was shattered when Jolanta was attacked in the upstairs of the house and stabbed repeatedly by someone she and her daughter knew well, according to gardai.

Terrified Jolanta struggled desperately to escape her attacker, and tried to flee the house.

Enrika was standing on the upstairs landing when someone she would be able to identify easily stabbed her in the neck.

She was the first to die.

The killer then chased Jolanta who, bleeding and traumatised after witnessing her daughter's murder, tried to get out the back door.

However, he caught her before she was able to escape and continued to stab her – more than 20 times in all.

Mr Lubys said if he could speak to the killer, he would ask him: "Why? Why did you do this? You can go to hell."

Like many eastern European couples, they had met when they were young. She was 17 and still at school and he was 19. They married two years later.

The couple moved to Ireland in 2005, the year Enrika was born. They stayed first in Glenbeigh, in rural Co Kerry, before moving to nearby Killorglin two years later.

For Jolanta, Killorglin was the obvious choice. Her older sister, Kristina, and her husband, Vaidas, already lived in nearby Milltown, and Jolanta initially got a job working in Keane's SuperValu where Kristina was also employed.

Killorglin's Lithuanian and Polish communities are well-integrated and greatly respected, as evidenced by the crowd of about 1,000 people who packed St James's Church on Wednesday night for a memorial Mass.

Kerry was the only home Enrika had known, and the "little chatterbox" loved attending Scoil Mhuire where she had many friends.

Her mother was equally loved by her colleagues at St Joseph's Nursing Home where she latterly worked as a chef.

She was described by her friend, Helen O'Shea, as being "great craic" and having a "heart of gold". She was "the first you could turn to in a crisis".

Now Jolanta's Irish friends and Lithuanian family are struggling to take in the senseless and brutal murders, in a shocked town that remains on edge until the killer is caught.

Irish Independent

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

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News