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Murdered artist's sister found dead

THE family of murdered artist Imelda Riney has suffered further tragedy with the death of her sister in an alcohol-related incident.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Bernadette Riney (56) from Cos Cairn, Shankhill in South Dublin, was found dead at her home by friends on May 1 last year.

She died from asphyxia after she collapsed while drinking.

Ms Riney's sister Imelda (29) and nephew Liam (three) were found buried in a shallow grave in Cregg Wood outside Whitegate in Co Clare in May 1994, after being missing for more than a week.

Mother and son had been abducted and shot dead by Brendan O'Donnell, who would go on to murder Fr Joseph Walsh in the same killing spree.

O'Donnell was subsequently convicted of murdering all three and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died when he took his own life at the Central Mental Hospital in 1997.

At yesterday's inquest, the deputy coroner heard that Bernadette Riney – who was known as Detta – was a "quiet" woman who kept to herself and had been studying art at the time of her death. She was last seen alive by a neighbour on the night of Saturday, April 28, as she walked her dog.

Bottles

Ms Riney had enlisted the help of old friend and carpenter Paul Savage to have some work done on her house. He had organised for a tiler to contact her in relation to the work.

When Ms Riney failed to return the tiler's calls, he went to her house on the day she was discovered and found the back door open with the dog running in and out but could still get no answer.

He informed Mr Savage who went around to the house with his wife to check on Ms Riney.

He told the court that when he went into the house he found her lying on the kitchen floor on her side. He touched her arm and knew she was dead, he said.

Garda Sarah Carroll of Shankhill Garda Station said that there are no suspicious circumstances involved in Ms Riney's death.

When she attended the scene she saw Ms Riney lying face down on the floor against the kitchen press and several open empty bottles of alcohol were lying around, she said.

The post-mortem gave the cause of death as asphyxia.

Deputy coroner Maria Colbert said that Ms Riney had a significant amount of alcohol in her system when she died.

She returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

hnews@herald.ie


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