PJ Browne: Big fear is now that there's a double killer on the loose

PJ Browne

THE DOUBLE deaths in Limerick send shivers up the spine.

A woman is dead upstairs and a man dead downstairs, both of whom suffered gunshot wounds.

The fact that no gun was found at the scene would suggest that this was not a so-called 'murder suicide'.

If both people are shot and no gun was at the scene, then a brutal double murder is the obvious explanation.

But what was the motive for such an act?

The early indications are that the two people shot dead were going out together for only a matter of weeks.

So what motive could there be for killing them both?


One of the first things investigators will be trying to establish today is if there was gunshot residue -- from a shotgun -- on either Des Kelly's or Breda Waters' hands.

If such evidence is found, it would point very strongly to that person being the killer and the two deaths being a murder/suicide.

If not - and the absence of a gun at the scene makes it unlikely - then there is a killer at large, and a murder investigation gets under way.

Separate to forensic tests for residue, the crime scene examiners from the Garda Technical Bureau will comb every part of that house and its environs to gather every bit of evidence available.

The State Pathologist will also determine if the deaths occurred at the scene where the bodies were found, and if there was any struggle.

Following all these examinations the gardai will be in a better position to go forward with their inquiries --with the key forensic evidence, of course.

There was a party at the house before the killings and any people who have any information must now stand up and assist the gardai to bring the culprits to justice.

If you don't, you are as guilty as the people who pulled the trigger.

The outcome of the forensic examination will determine to a large extent the direction of this investigation.

The post mortem will also be crucial in providing investigators with material.

As an old murder investigator, I have heard so many opinions uttered over a long number of years by people who have no knowledge of the scene and circumstances of what was found that I often came away and said to myself: 'That poor old Sherlock Homes must have been a great man'.

The programmes about Crime Scene Investigation make me laugh, everything is solved in an hour.

If only it was so easy.


As this double killing shows, when it comes to serious crime the truth is rarely quick or simple.

Of course sadness also comes to mind that two young people won't walk the streets again, both in their twenties and with their futures now wiped out in a flash.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent, with 35 years' experience