Friday 13 December 2019

Woman's remains exhumed as man claims 1994 killing

Barry Duggan

The Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis has carried out a post mortem on a body exhumed from a graveyard in Limerick.

Reporters and onlookers were cleared from the scene in Rathkeale in Co Limerick as investigators started to exhume the remains of Margaret 'Margot' Seery.

She was 42 when she died in 1994 in a Dublin flat.

She was found dead in the property in Rathmines and, following examination, it was determined that she choked to death after a night socialising.

Nobody else was sought as part of the investigation as gardai did not believe any foul play had occurred in her death.

However, during the summer a man walked into a Dublin city garda station and claimed he killed the young Limerick woman.

The graveyard in Rathkeale, inset Dr Michael Curtis, Deputy State Pathologist
The graveyard in Rathkeale, inset Dr Michael Curtis, Deputy State Pathologist
Dr Michael Curtis, Deputy State Pathologist.

The man, who is understood to have a history of psychiatric problems, brought detectives to the flat where Ms Seery died and outlined the events of the night to officers, including how he met the deceased and spent the evening socialising with her.

The middle-aged man informed officers whom he was with and his account tallied with information received in the 1994 investigation into her death.

He claimed that he violently attacked her in the flat and strangled her to death.

It is understood that the man was also questioned in a recorded interview in a Dublin garda station after he came forward to officers and gave them his account of how she died.

Gardai are treating the claims extremely seriously and a full investigation is under way, including an autopsy at the morgue at University Hospital Limerick.

Authorities subsequently applied to the Department of Justice to exhume the remains for a full post-mortem examination and this was granted in recent weeks.

Dr Curtis is attempting to determine whether Ms Seery died a violent death and indeed, if she was strangled, as is alleged by the man who claims he killed her.

Any future prosecution will depend on the post-mortem examination and report by Dr Curtis along with the man's admissions to gardai.

The Director of Public Prosecutions will determine if a criminal case is warranted upon receiving all of the evidence gathered.

Ms Seery's relatives have been notified of what has occurred over recent weeks and are said to be extremely upset of the recent events.

In 2010, gardai also took the rare step of having the remains of student Emer O'Loughlin (23) exhumed five years after her death.

Gardai began a murder hunt following the new post-mortem examination on Ms O'Loughlin's remains. Her body had been discovered in a burnt-out caravan in Co Clare in 2005. No one has been charged.

Irish Independent

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