Sunday 17 November 2019

Little Enrika was looking forward to summer with family

Nicola Anderson in Lithuania

FINALLY back together in the village they call home, the family of Jolanta and Enrika Lubiene cling to each other with grief.

The bodies of the slain mother and daughter are making their final journey to Gedriami in Lithuania.

The sun-drenched landscape dotted with cows and old wooden houses was little Enrika's idea of paradise.

The eight-year-old who had made her new home in Killorglin, Co Kerry, was desperately looking forward to returning to Lithuania this summer.

She had spent last summer there with her cousins, who were also looking forward to welcoming her home.

But not like this. Mother and daughter were both stabbed to death at their home on June 15.

At the family homestead, Jolanta's sister, Kristina, emerges with Jolanta's husband, Marius Lubys.

They are tired and worn out from grief, having flown from Ireland the previous evening.

The circumstances of the deaths are still a mystery to them. They had never even seen the man accused of her killing until he appeared in court.

"That was the first time I ever saw him," said Marius, shaking his head.

However, they do not want to hamper the garda investigation by saying any more.

"Step by step – that is how it must be," said Marius. This quietly spoken man had left Ireland to seek work in Sweden six months ago, but had been due to be reunited with his family in two weeks' time.

They had planned to all move back again in Lithuania, to start a new life in their native land.

Kristina remembered how little Enrika played happily with her cousins this time last year.

"God, she really loved the village. She loved the animals and her grandma," Kristina remembered.

"She spent the whole summer here with her cousins and she thinks this summer that she will do the same again – but that will never happen now," she said, tears in her eyes.

They told the Irish Independent that the reality of Jolanta's death was just sinking in with the family, who have gathered amid their united grief.

Her three brothers, who have arrived home from Sweden, where they are now living, and the fourth – who lives in another city in Lithuania – were all there.

Their mother Ramute Santiene and father Rimantas Santa are completely distraught, she revealed.

"My mother is crying all the time and my father just sits there quietly," said Kristina.

Rimantas is in ill health with cancer and he has also lost a leg to diabetes, Kristina explained.

The family are trying to plan the funeral – but it is difficult, she added.

The bodies of the mother and daughter, who tragically lost their lives at their home in Killorglin, Co Kerry, left Dublin yesterday but because of a lengthy stop over in Frankfurt, will not be arriving in Lithuania until midnight tonight.

The coffins will then be brought to Gedriamai. And the villagers will be out in force, as Jolanta and Enrika finally come home.

Irish Independent

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