Children found dead in their Dublin home were murdered

Affira (11) and her six-year-old brother Fazan were murdered, gardaí await postmortem on death of mother

Residents hold a candlelight vigil for Seema Banu and her children, Affira and Fazan, on the main green area on the Llewellyn estate in Ballinteer. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Residents hold a candlelight vigil for Seema Banu and her children, Affira and Fazan, on the main green area on the Llewellyn estate in Ballinteer. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Two young children found dead in their south Dublin home were murdered and gardaí on Wednesday night were awaiting results of a postmortem to determine how their mother died.

The Irish Times understands a ligature and a note were found where Seema Banu’s remains were discovered early Wednesday afternoon at her home in Ballinteer, and foul play in her death has not been ruled out.

The dead woman’s children – Affira (11) and her six-year-old brother Fazan – were found face down in a bedroom of the family home on Llewellyn Court and gardaí believe they were strangled.

The mother of two, who was from India and had been living in Ireland for many years, was the victim of an alleged assault earlier this year.

A male suspect had been identified for that attack in May, which left her very seriously injured and resulted in her losing consciousness.

That man had been charged with assault causing harm and was set to go on trial next April.

The case was due before the courts in Dublin for mention on Thursday morning.

Seema Banu had also been in contact with the authorities amid concern for the family’s welfare in the aftermath of that attack.

Neighbours

Gardaí were alerted by neighbours late on Wednesday morning about their concerns for the family as they had not been seen for a number of days and the blinds were drawn.

Gardaí arrived on the scene just after midday and found the remains of Ms Banu lying face up in one bedroom and her children in another bedroom.

It is understood they had been dead for some time and a tap that had been left running had flooded the property.

The dead woman’s husband, and the father of the two deceased children, was later contacted by gardaí.

He and a legal representative have been speaking to the investigating team.

No arrests in the case had been made on Wednesday night. Supt Paul Reidy of Blackrock Garda station said the results of the postmortem examinations on the remains of Ms Banu and her children would dictate the nature of the investigation.

Garda Headquarters on Wednesday asked members of the public to desist from posting speculation about the case on social media.

On Wednesday night on the main green area on the estate, off Llewellyn Lawn, about 200 local people came out to remember the dead and left candles under the largest tree in the park.

Mary Byrne, of the local residents’ association, said she and the others present had come because they felt they needed to be together to remember Seema Banu, Affira and Fazan.

Asked how people were feeling after what had happened, she said the estate was in disbelief and shock.

“We just said we have to be here together for them. There is a lot of emotion, it’s just very sad,” she said.