Man held over murder of Miriam Burns (75) released without charge

Searches carried out in Killarney as part of investigation into murder of woman

A man in his 50s arrested in connection with the death of Killarney woman Miriam Burns (75) has been released without charge.

Mrs Burns was found dead at her home on the Ardshanavooly housing estate in the Co Kerry town on Monday.

Gardaí believe she was killed in her home by somebody who then went to great efforts to conceal evidence before leaving her body to lay undiscovered for several days.

It is also suspected Mrs Burns knew her killer and let the person into her home, with no signs of any break-in discovered at her house.


The man arrested on Tuesday was being questioned under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. He was freed on Thursday afternoon, and a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It is understood the man is liaising with gardai in relation to a separate and unrelated matter.

Mrs Burns, a mother of four and a grandmother, was a very popular figure in her locality, and there has been shock at her murder. Gardaí believe she was assaulted in her home in the days before her remains were found, with her body undiscovered for several days.

It is understood when family members were unable to contact her for a prolonged period, neighbours were asked to check on her. Those checks resulted in local gardaí being called, and the body of Mrs Burns was found at her home at about 1.15pm on Monday.

The house was sealed off as a crime scene and the remains were left in situ overnight before undergoing a preliminary examination at the scene by a pathologist on Tuesday. A postmortem was conducted later Tuesday at University Hospital Kerry by State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster.

Gardaí said the results of the postmortem were not being released “for operational reasons”. However, the results confirmed the initial suspicions of gardaí — that Mrs Burns had fatal injuries consistent with being attacked, rather than having been the victim of an accident or fall in her home.

There was no sign of break in at the property where Ms Burns was found dead and it is believed that she knew her killer.

“An incident room has been established at Killarney Garda station and a murder investigation has commenced under the direction of a senior investigating officer,” the Garda said. “A family liaison officer has been appointed and continues to keep the family informed of the investigation.”

The house where Mrs Burns was found dead has been examined by members of the Garda Technical Bureau. It is understood a number of items, including clothing, were discovered by gardaí during the searches in Killarney. Gardaí are hopeful forensic testing on those items will link the killer to the murder.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times