Man arrested in connection with murder of Kerry grandmother

Suspect believed to be known to Miriam Burns whose body was found in her home on Monday

A man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of Kerry grandmother Miriam Burns, whose body was found in her home on Monday.

The suspect, a man in his 50s, is believed to be known to Ms Burns. Gardaí suspect the victim let her attacker into her home before she was attacked.

The Garda said in a statement on Tuesday evening the investigation has been upgraded to a murder inquiry following a postmortem carried out by State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster, the results of which are not being released for operational reasons, but it is understood Ms Burns died as a result of an assault.

The arrest of the suspect occurred around the time the investigation was upgraded to a murder inquiry.

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He has been taken to Killarney Garda station where he can be questioned for up to 24 hours.

The suspect is known to gardaí and is believed to have been observed acting strangely in the community in recent months.

The mother-of-four, whose maiden name was Kelleher, was well known and liked around Killarney.

Her body was found at 1.15pm on Monday after neighbours, who were concerned for her welfare, alerted emergency services. She is survived by two sons and two daughters, some of whom live abroad.

An incident room has been established at Killarney Garda station under the direction of a senior investigating officer and a Family Liaison Officer has been assigned to the victim’s family to keep them up to date with inquiries.

Ms Burns’ house remains sealed off pending further examination.

Gardaí in Kerry have issued an appeal for witnesses including anyone in the Ardshanavooley estate between 5pm on Friday and 1pm on Monday “who observed any activity which drew their attention”.

They have also asked for road users in the area at the time who may have camera footage to make this available to gardaí.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Killarney Garda station on 064 6671160, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station,” the Garda said.

Ms Burns was highly active in the local community. Local councillor Niall O’Callaghan said: ”She was a fabulous lady. She would talk to anyone and she would talk all day.”

“She would be seen cycling into town once or twice a day and she talked to everyone. She was a very elegant lady and came from an extended Killarney family, genuine old stock.

“It is very sad for the people of Ardshanavooley. It is very sad for the family,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime Correspondent of The Irish Times