Man arrested over Cork fire death

The 36-year-old old mother of three was found by firefighters following a fire at her home in Passage West.

The 36-year-old old mother of three was found by firefighters following a fire at her home in Passage West.

Mon, Feb 18, 2013, 00:00

Gardaí are questioning a 35-year-old man about the murder of a mother-of-three whose body was found following a house fire at her home in Co Cork yesterday.

Detectives arrested the man at 11pm last night for questioning about the murder of Olivia Dunlea O'Brien at her home in Pembroke Crescent in Passage West on Sunday morning.

The man was arrested at his home elsewhere in Passage under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows him to be held for up to 24 hours before being released or charged. He was brought to Togher Garda station where it  gardaí began questioning him this morning about the murder of the 36-year-old woman.

The arrest came as gardaí upgraded their inquiry from one of suspicious death to one of murder following receipt of postmortem results from State Pathologist, Prof Marie Cassidy.

Prof Cassidy carried out a postmortem on Ms Dunlea O'Brien's body at Cork University Hospital yesterday afternoon which confirmed that she died from stab wounds.

Initially, it had been thought that Ms Dunlea O'Brien had died as result of a fire at her two storey semi-detached house which she shared with her three children in Passage.

However, Garda suspicions were aroused yesterday when technical experts found two seats of the fire during a forensic examination of the scene.

One seat of the fire was downstairs and the other was upstairs where firefighters recovered the body of Ms Dunlea O'Brien from the main bedroom which was badly damaged.

Ms Dunlea O'Brien was separated and her three children, two boys and a girl, were staying with their father when she was fatally assaulted and the house set alight.