A MOTHER of two young children who was fatally stabbed by her husband before he killed himself was a devoted mother who "lived and died" for her girls.
Angie Billing (27) had been desperately hoping to return to South Africa with daughters Pamela (4) and Cornie (2) for Christmas.
Friends of the young woman told today how Angie had lived for her children and had been desperate to bring them home to her mother in South Africa.
"It's all she talked about. She would tell her mother on the phone she would be home by Christmas. She loved it here but she had no money. In South Africa, she had lived on a farm and she wanted her children to grow up there," said one neighbour.
Angie and her husband Cornelius (44) had moved to the village of Kildysart in Clare about nine months ago. The couple were struggling financially, but the community rallied around to help the young mother providing clothes, food and toys for her and her children.
"She had nothing. She came to the house telling me the children were hungry. We supported her anyway we could, with clothes and food and DVDs for the girls. All the neighbours tried to help," said one.
Friends of the young woman had been worried for her welfare in recent months as the relationship with her husband broke down.
"When I saw the blue lights I immediately feared something was wrong with Angie.
"But then I was told that it was a fire in the shop. I was so relieved. Later I got calls to say it was Angie, I had prayed they were wrong. I'm just devastated," added her friend.
She was remembered in the town today as a "young, spirited and loving mother".
"She came to this country hoping to make a safe life for her and her children but unfortunately that was not to be. She was a great friend and a happy soul even in the worst of times," said her friend.
"Angie lived for her children and died for them," they added.
The tragedy was today relayed to the families of both victims. Mr Billing's sister Pamela had lived nearby with her own family.
As post mortem examinations are carried out on the remains of the couple today, their orphaned children were being cared for by neighbours.
Gardai were continuing to piece together the sequence of events that led to the double tragedy, which saw the pair die within minutes of each other.
Angie had suffered stab wounds to her chest while her husband had stab injuries to his neck. Gardai are not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths.
The gruesome scene was discovered by a member of the gardai who was helping firefighters. They were attending a blaze in a shop in the village when the 27-year-old woman staggered from the apartment with one of the children in her arms. She approached the officer and collapsed on the street in front of him, and the screaming child ran back into the apartment.
Firefighters immediately tended to the woman while other emergency workers raced into the apartment after the child.
There they found a 44-year-old man, who had also suffered stab wounds, in the hallway of the property.
He spoke briefly to officers and attempts were made to save his life, but he also died.
Two scenes were preserved this morning on the street where the woman died and in the apartment where her husband's body lay.
Officers were later seen carrying two young children wrapped in blankets from the apartment.