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Suspected strangler of Rose (78) still on run after fleeing to France

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Murder victim Rose Hanrahan

Murder victim Rose Hanrahan

Murder victim Rose Hanrahan

The chief suspect for the brutal murder of Limerick pensioner Rose Hanrahan remains on the run, her inquest has heard.

The 78-year-old was found murdered in her home shortly before Christmas last year.

Her inquest was opened and adjourned yesterday.

Ms Hanrahan's body was discovered by relatives in her bungalow in New Road, Thomondgate, on December 15, 2017.

Gardai have not officially disclosed how she died. However, it is understood she was strangled.

Last December, the Sunday World revealed that the chief suspect has a conviction for a serious sexual offence in another jurisdiction.

It is believed the criminal, who is from Eastern Europe, fled the country in the days following Ms Hanrahan's shocking murder.

He is reported to have taken a ferry to France, but his exact whereabouts are not known.

Gardai, who have spoken to more than 1,300 people during the nine-month murder investigation, are now liaising with Interpol and Europol as they hunt for the killer.

Investigators are also said to be using facial recognition technology across Europe in an attempt to identify the suspect's location.

It is understood that Ms Hanrahan was killed during a botched attempted robbery at her home.

According to reports, gardai have identified her killer on CCTV.

A forensic sweep for clothing fibres as well as DNA was also carried out at Ms Hanrahan's home by specialist gardai.

Detectives would not comment on reports that they have CCTV footage of the killer stalking Ms Hanrahan while she was doing her shopping at a supermarket in Limerick on the day she was murdered.

Followed

It is suggested that gardai believe the killer was after the PIN for her ATM card and may have followed her to her home.

Limerick city coroner John McNamara told Ms Hanrahan's family members, including two of her sisters, a niece, and a brother-in-law: "I know it's difficult for any family to come to inquests, to hear details surrounding the death of a loved one."

Explaining the process to the family, Mr McNamara said: "An inquest is a public inquiry into a person's death.

"You are entitled to ask questions; it's not a court as such.

"If you have any questions, feel free to ask them."

Inspector Paul Reidy, who is based at Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick, formally requested that the inquest be adjourned, pending the results of the investigation into Ms Hanrahan's murder.

"There is a criminal investigation ongoing at the moment," Insp Reidy said.

Mr McNamara said "under the Coroner's Act, I'm obliged to grant the [adjournment]".

He told Ms Hanrahan's family: "We don't want to give evidence that might have an impact on, or compromise, the ongoing garda investigation."

Adjourning the inquest, the coroner told the family: "I'm sorry, I don't have an exact date for you. We'll have to wait until there are developments in the garda investigation."

Garda sources said the investigation was progressing and they would keep Ms Hanrahan's family up to date with any developments.


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