Saturday 16 December 2017

Son questioned over death of mother in nursing home

The Killure Bridge nursing home, located outside Waterford city, where the death occurred
The Killure Bridge nursing home, located outside Waterford city, where the death occurred

Sarah Stack & Eimear Ni Bhraonain & Tom Brady

DETECTIVES are continuing to question a man over the murder of his mother. The victim, named locally as Vera Vollrath, was found dead in Killure Bridge nursing home, 1km outside Waterford city, in the early hours of yesterday.

Her 46-year-old son was later arrested at Dublin Airport, attempting to leave the country, after relatives raised the alarm.

A Garda spokesman confirmed a murder investigation has been launched following a post-mortem examination on 83-year-old Mrs Vollrath.

The results will not be made public for operational reasons, he added.

Meanwhile, the arrested man remains at Waterford Garda Station where he is being questioned under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Gardai swooped on the man as he was about to leave the country yesterday. A post-mortem examination was under way last night to determine if the woman died from suffocation. Officers detained the 46-year-old suspect as he was preparing to board a flight at Dublin airport yesterday afternoon.

He was taken to Waterford Gardai station where he was being held last night, and could be held for up to 24 hours.

Gardai said last night they were anxious to interview the man about the death of the woman -- named locally as Vera Vollrath -- in the Killure Bridge nursing home, a kilometre outside Waterford city.

She died in the early hours of yesterday and gardai were investigating initial reports that she had been smothered.

But gardai stressed that they had to await the outcome of the post-mortem at Waterford Regional Hospital before the cause of death could be positively established.

The result would also determine the course of their inquiries into the death, an officer said last night.

It is understood that the woman had been ill and her family and friends had been keeping a regular vigil at her bedside. The woman is believed to be a German national, who had been living in Tramore, Co Waterford, for several years.

It is understood that the arrested man, had visited her at the home on Sunday night but had left some time before the woman's death was discovered by staff.

He returned to the family’s home in Tramore and, following a long night of reminiscing, informed a relative of what had happened.

Gardaí called to the nursing home yesterday morning, but the woman had already been certified as dead by a local doctor. Her body had been removed to a funeral home to prepare for her burial.

Nursing home staff had also removed the bed linen, including pillows, and sent it to the laundry..

Gardai were alerted yesterday that the man was on his way to the airport and decided to arrest him to interview him about the death.

Staff and residents at the nursing home were interviewed by gardai yesterday as they tried to build up a picture of what had taken place in the previous 24 hours. Residents were said to have been shocked by the discovery of the woman's body in the home, which is near the woodlands of the Ballinamona estate.

A Waterford woman, who has a relative living in Killure Bridge nursing home, said there was disbelief over the incident.

"I'm just really shocked that something like that could happen. It's a small home with only around 70 residents. So they all know each other and interact and feel very safe. It makes it all the more upsetting," she added.

"My relative is devastated. She knew the lady, who died, and we can't believe it."

Killure Bridge nursing home was contacted for a comment last night but the management did not respond.

Irish Independent

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