Man questioned over Louth murder

Fri, Aug 31, 2012, 01:00

Gardaí investigating the beating to death of mother-of-three Jacqueline McDonagh in her Co Louth home are continuing to question a male suspect.

The man, who was known to the dead woman, was arrested in Dublin just after 5pm yesterday and was taken to Dundalk Garda station in Co Louth where the murder inquiry is based.

He is being detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act which allows for his detention without charge for 24 hours. His initial period of detention ran for six hours and that was extended by a further six hours late last night, after which his detention can be extended by 12 hours.

Detectives working on the case do not think the killing was in connected to a feud within the Traveller community, despite the fact that members of the dead woman’s family had been targeted as part of a dispute.

While the investigating team is also examining report there was a break-in at Mrs McDonagh’s home and she was beaten to death by intruders, progress has been slow in trying to find evidence to support that proposition.

The murder investigation is now focused on another line of inquiry, with gardaí now of the view the dead woman was killed by somebody known to her.

The man being questioned last night was identified as the main suspect in the hours after news of the killing emerged. His movements had been monitored and gardaí arrested him yesterday afternoon.

Searches have been undertaken in an effort to find any weapon that may have been used to beat the victim to death. A postmortem on Mrs McDonagh’s remains found significant bruising on her body and face.

However, the dead woman’s head had also been cut and gardaí are trying to establish if that was as a result of a weapon being used in the attack.

The 34-year-old was pronounced dead at her rented home on the College Manor estate in Dundalk, Co Louth, at 3.15am on Wednesday after gardaí and paramedics were called to the house.

Gardaí believe the woman died in the downstairs room of the house.