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Stepfather's agony as he has to identify young bodies

The stepfather of murder victim Sarah Hines has spoken of the harrowing experience of identifying the bodies of his stepdaughter and two grandchildren.

Sarah Hines (25), her baby Amy (five months), infant son Reece (3) and close friend, Alicia Brough (20) were stabbed to death on Monday.

At his home in Feoghnagh, Co Limerick, Mr Rolfe spoke of the harrowing experiences of having to identify the bodies of Sarah, Reece and Amy at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

"Seeing the bodies, it was unreal. Nobody needs that. It took so long, or so it seemed at the time," Mr Rolfe said.

"It only took two seconds to identify each of the bodies but I had to go out and wait before being called in again ... that seemed a long time," he said quietly.

The Hines family, who are originally from Essex, are waiting for relations from England to travel over for the three funerals.

"We will have a service for people in Essex who can't make it," he added.

People of all ages gathered at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Newcastle West last night where four candles were lit for each of Monday's victims, and another for the Butler family in Cork.





Dumbfounded

Poignantly, there were young children in almost every pew inside the church. Canon Frank Duhig said Reece and his baby sister Amy, along with the two sisters in Cork, "are safe in the arms of Jesus where there will be forever young".

"People are dumbfounded, full of doubts, full of questions, some spoken, some unspoken -- where are we going, what is the world coming to," he said.

Prayers were also offered for the arrested man, his family, the gardai and the State Pathologists' personnel.

Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was expected to decide later today whether to charge the chief suspect being questioned for the murders of a mother, her two children and another woman.

Gardai were expected to resume their questioning of the 31-year-old Corkman today at Henry Street Garda Station, in Limerick.

He was brought back there yesterday afternoon after receiving medical treatment at Cork University Hospital for a wound to his hand.

Investigating officers have been in close consultations with the DPP's office since Tuesday's arrest and will remain so today.

The Herald understands that senior officers want all aspects of their major investigation soundly ringfenced before a final decision is made on whether the suspect can be brought before a court sitting. Yesterday, gardai asked business owners in Newcastle West for CCTV footage which may show the movements of the individual in the hours before and after Monday's atrocity.

Up to 500 people gathered at a moving service in Newcastle West last night and prayed for the seven people who died tragically this week.





Blood

The horrific scene at 18 Hazelgrove, where the four victims were stabbed to death on Monday remained sealed off yesterday.

It is understood that the man being questioned about the murders fled from the scene to his home in the nearby Meadowcourt estate to clean himself of his victims' blood.

He covered Reece and his baby sister with a blanket before escaping. He was spotted walking back to the house by a number of residents.

hnews@herald.ie


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