Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mother-of-three Nicola 'battered to death in flat by a man she knew'

The body of Nicola Collins, who was found dead in a flat at Popham’s Road in Cork, is removed from the scene Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Gardai at the scene, Popham's Road, Cork where a woman's body was found
Nicola Collins who was found dead in Cork
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Gardaí believe a young woman was savagely battered to death by a man she knew, in a flat she was visiting on Mother's Day.

Gardaí are treating the death of mother-of-three Nicola Collins (39) as murder after a post-mortem examination revealed she had died from a brutal and sustained assault in which she suffered multiple head and neck injuries.

The grim discovery was made in a flat above the Gala XPress shop on Popham's Road in Farranree, Cork, shortly after 3am yesterday.

Gardaí were alerted by an occupant of the premises.

Nicola Collins
Nicola Collins

Despite desperate efforts to help the young mother, she was pronounced dead at the scene before she could be transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

A 42-year-old man was arrested under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and taken to Mayfield Garda Station for questioning.

The man, who is from outside Charleville in north Cork, was known to the dead woman.

The address at which Ms Collins's body was found had been rented over the past year by a middle-aged man.

It is understood she would occasionally stay overnight there, particularly at weekends.

Ms Collins, who was separated, had lived in a flat off Clashduv Road in Togher on the other side of Cork city for the past two years.

The body was examined at the scene by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster before a full post-mortem examination was conducted at CUH.

Gardaí upgraded their investigation to a murder inquiry under Supt Michael Comyn immediately after the post-mortem.

Ailish Coker, who lives next door to the Farranree property, said she was "totally shocked" by the tragedy.

"I didn't really know her but I would see her coming in and out of the flat every so often," she said.

Garda forensic officers analyse the scene. Photo: Michael MacSweeney
Garda forensic officers analyse the scene. Photo: Michael MacSweeney

"She seemed like a very nice girl. It is absolutely awful what happened - I'm still shaking from hearing the news."

Councillor Ken Collins, who is no relation, lives four doors away from the flat.

"It is a shocking thing to wake up to on a Monday morning," he said. "This is a very quiet area.

"There are a lot of elderly people living around here and it has shocked everyone.

"All I can say is that my thoughts and prayers go to the family of that poor woman."

She was originally from Kerry and was a graduate of Cork College of Commerce.

"She was a lovely person - but very quiet and private. She pretty much kept to herself," one neighbour said. The man, who gave his name as Colm, said they had seen Ms Collins around the Clashduv complex over the past week and were appalled to hear the news of her death.

"It's desperate for any family - God help them. I don't know much about Nicola. We knew she lived alone so everyone kind of kept an eye out for her.

"The neighbours here are very good and everyone looks out for everyone else.

"I think she has been living here for about two years or so."

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said Ms Collins would always greet people with a smile or a nod.

"She was very nice but was quiet. She kept to herself. But when you'd meet her out she would always wave or smile at you."

It is understood Ms Collins has a number of family members living in north Kerry.

Last night, Garda Technical Bureau experts continued a painstaking forensic and technical examination of the Popham's Road flat.

Uniformed gardaí also began door-to-door inquiries in the area.

Irish Independent

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