Quadruple murder suspect 'took kitchen knife'
A man suspected of murdering his ex-lover, her two children and friend allegedly took a kitchen knife from his rented home before the attack, it emerged tonight.
Detectives were investigating reports that a man was seen leaving a house in Newcastle West, Co Limerick with a makeshift weapon a day before the horrific quadruple killing was uncovered.
A witness claimed the man went in to a house he shared with others on Monday evening nursing a badly cut hand and took a knife from a drawer before he fled.
Three-year-old Reece Hines, his five-month-old sister Amy - believed to be the man's daughter - their mother Sarah, 25, and her 20-year-old friend Alicia Brough were all found dead on the other side of town, in the quiet Hazelgrove estate, Gortboy, yesterday lunchtime.
Within hours a 31-year-old unemployed man, the only suspect, had been arrested.
One investigator revealed the unemployed man, who had been living in the village of Dromcollogher, near the Cork-Limerick border for several years, only moved in to a shared house in the Meadowcourt estate in Newcastle West in recent weeks.
He then started visiting Ms Hines' house.
"The mind does dangerous things," the investigator added.
Ms Hines' stepfather Peter Rolph, from Tournafulla, Co Limerick, said her mother Abina and seven brothers and step-brothers were completely devastated at their loss.
"Nothing will ever be the same," he said.
Mr Rolph fought back tears as he described his two young grandchildren.
"When you looked at Amy she recognised you and there was this smile," he told Limerick's Live95FM.
"She lit up the world."
Detectives were trying to piece together the final moments before the attack that left four dead. The Hines' attracted little attention from neighbours after moving in almost eights weeks ago.
Sunday night was the first sign of anything unusual - with loud music played in to the early hours.
Mr Rolph said little Reece lived life as much as he could.
"You could write a book about Reece, he was brilliant," continued Mr Rolph, who originally comes from England.
"I'd say he had a Buddha nature where every second, every moment is absolutely precious and you've just got to live it as much as you can. That was Reece.
"From the second he got up he was alive."
It is understood the arrested man was last seen by his housemates on Monday evening.
"He went in on Monday with a bad cut on his hand and told his house mates he'd put it through a window," said one neighbour.
"They told him to go to hospital but he said no. Then he took a knife from the kitchen drawer."
A woman, who locals claimed had been sharing the property with the suspect, said: "I do not want to talk about that."
Exactly 24 hours after gardai broke down the door of the murder house and made the grim discovery, the four bodies were removed from the scene in two hearses.
State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy and a team of forensic officers had earlier examined the scene and faced the daunting task of piecing together the events inside the well-kept semi-detached house.
Detectives hope a post mortem will finally determine when the murders occurred.
It is understood the suspect had effectively given up the idea of going on the run - calling a retired garda from a public phone in Kilkee, Co Clare.
He was then tracked to a pub in the village on the west coast.
The quadruple murder suspect was being held at Henry Street garda station in Limerick city overnight but was brought to Cork Regional Hospital for treatment to his hand.
Meanwhile. door-to-door inquiries were being carried out.
Jussie Singh, whose family let out the house where the attack took place, left a bouquet of flowers at the scene before rushing off without speaking.
"She's devastated," said a friend.