Monday 18 November 2019

Young mother beaten in her home knew killer, say gardai

Jacqueline McDonagh
Jacqueline McDonagh with her husband Michael Quinn McDonagh
Jacqueline McDonagh with Michael on her wedding day
Undertakers and members of the Garda forensics remove the remains of Jacqueline McDonagh who was found dead in her home at College Manor in Dundalk, yesterday.

Tom Brady, Edel O'Connell and Elaine Keogh

Gardai believe that a mother of three who was beaten to death in her home early yesterday knew her killer.

Officers say they have found no evidence of a break-in at the home of 34-year-old Jacqueline McDonagh, whose body was found on the floor of a downstairs room of the two-storied house at College Manor, Hoey's Lane, Dundalk.

But technical experts are examining the doors and windows of the house after the victim's husband, Michael Quinn McDonagh, reported that two men had burst in during the early hours of the morning and attacked his wife.

The couple featured in a recent television documentary on bare-knuckle boxing among the Traveller community.

Mrs McDonagh suffered several injuries to her head and body during what appeared to have been a sustained attack.

The family alerted the gardai around 3am and she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards as officers quickly sealed off the scene for a technical examination.

Her husband and their three children, Michael (5), Nikita (10) and Chloe (14), were in the house when the body was found.

The body was later removed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where a post- mortem was being carried out last night by the deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis.

It was expected to confirm that Mrs McDonagh had died from injuries sustained during a vicious assault.

Gardai carried out a search of the area for a weapon used in the attack and made house-to- house inquiries.

The family rented the semi-detached house about 15 months ago and moved there from Dunsink Lane in Finglas, west Dublin, where they had lived for several years.

Mr Quinn McDonagh is originally from Dundalk and his wife is from Navan.

Relatives

It is believed that they had decided to move from Finglas and opted for Dundalk because several relatives lived close by in the town.

Last night Superintendent Gerry Curley appealed to any witnesses "who saw or heard anything suspicious" in the estate or surrounding area between midnight and 3.30am yesterday to contact them.

An incident room has been set up at Dundalk station and a case conference is being held there this morning, chaired by Chief Supt Pat McGee, to review the progress in their inquiries.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: "They were a lovely family but kept to themselves. They were always smiling and would wave to you from the car.

"It was so shocking to wake up and see all the garda cars. We heard absolutely nothing last night, which is unusual because you would hear any loud noises or disturbances on the estate."

Chairman of the local residents' association, John Temple, said: "This is a big shock to us. It is mostly young families and young professionals, who live here.

"They were a respected, quiet family, who would always say 'hello' and have a few words with you."

He added: "They stayed under the radar and got on with their lives. None of us even knew their names."

Neighbours blessed themselves and brought their children indoors yesterday as the hearse carrying Mrs McDonagh's remains moved slowly through the housing estate.

Irish Independent

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