Gardaí believe clothing discovered as part of the investigation into the murder of 75-year-old grandmother Miriam Burns will link the killer to the crime. The items, which were found during searches in the Killarney area on Wednesday, were still undergoing forensic testing last night.
Detectives working on the case were hopeful the results of that work would provide a breakthrough in the case. They are working on the theory the items found were disposed of by the killer after the murder in a bid to conceal their involvement in the crime.
The dead woman’s family were last night planning her funeral, with her remains due to arrive at St Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, on Sunday at 2.15pm for service at 4.00pm. The ceremony was due to be followed by private cremation.
The death notice for Mrs Burns described her as “a devoted mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and cousin”. It added she would be “devastatingly missed and infinitely loved by her children, grandchildren, sisters, brother, the whole of her extended family, friends, neighbours and the wider community”.
Mrs Burns was found dead at her home in 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.
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 gardaí suspect she may have known her killer and let them into the house.
“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.”
A man in his 50s who was being questioned about the murder of Mrs Burns in her home in Killarney, Co Kerry, was no longer in custody in connection with the killing yesterday. The man was arrested on Tuesday and was being questioned in Killarney Garda station under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. Gardaí said a file on the case was being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and that the murder investigation was ongoing.