Gardaí investigating murder of Mayo woman arrested man running in fields

Postmortem carried out on body of 41-year-old Valerie Kilroy

Valerie Kilroy (41) was killed at her home at Kilbree Lower, Co Mayo

Valerie Kilroy (41) was killed at her home at Kilbree Lower, Co Mayo

 

The body of a mother of three who died violently at her rural family home in Co Mayo was discovered by gardaí after they were alerted to a man running naked through nearby fields.

The victim has been named locally as Valerie French Kilroy (41), who lived at a bungalow with her husband and young children in Kilbree Lower, near Islandeady, off the main road between Westport and Castlebar.

It is believed her children are aged five, and her twins are aged two years.

A number of locals said the family had moved into the area in recent years.

Gardaí have begun a murder investigation.

The remains of Valerie Kilroy are removed from her Mayo home by an undertaker on Saturday. Photograph: Conor McKeown
The remains of Valerie Kilroy are removed from her Mayo home by an undertaker on Saturday. Photograph: Conor McKeown

Officers were called to Kilbree on Friday morning at around 10am after locals reported seeing a man running without any clothes through fields. The man was arrested.

It is understood gardaí then searched Ms Kilroy’s home and found her bloodied body at the rear of a shed.

None of the children were physically harmed.

The suspect, a man in his 40s who was known to the dead woman, is being held for questioning at Castlebar Garda station under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

“At this stage gardaí are not looking for anyone else in relation to this incident,” the Garda said in a statement.

“The family of the deceased woman has been notified and a family liaison officer has been appointed. The Garda investigation is ongoing.”

A postmortem was carried out on Ms Kilroy’s body at Mayo University Hospital on Saturday. Gardaí said in a statement they were not releasing the results for operational reasons.

The house has been sealed off as a crime scene. It has undergone a forensic examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.

The body of a woman was found in a house at Kilbree, Westport, Co Mayo on Friday morning. Photograph: Michael Mc Laughlin
The body of a woman was found in a house at Kilbree, Westport, Co Mayo on Friday morning. Photograph: Michael Mc Laughlin
A floral tribute left at the entrance to the house in Kilbree, where a mother of three was discovered murdered on Friday. Photograph: Conor McKeown
A floral tribute left at the entrance to the house in Kilbree, where a mother of three was discovered murdered on Friday. Photograph: Conor McKeown

It is understood Ms Kilroy worked as an occupational therapist in mental health services for the Health Service Executive in north Mayo.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said: “The HSE offers its condolences to Ms Kilroy’s family and will be working to support anyone affected, including her colleagues, over the coming days.”

Locals said the family was seen at a local school the day before her body was discovered, registering the twins for enrolment at playschool after the summer.

‘Fierce sadness’

Martin McLoughlin, a local councillor who lives in the same parish of Islandeady – where former taoiseach Enda Kenny was born and grew up – said the community was “absolutely stunned”.

“There are three kids left now without a mother,” he said.

“There is a feeling of fierce sadness in the community.

“It is such an awful tragedy to happen in the middle of such a normally quiet rural area.”

One local said the family were not known that well in the area. “They rented the house and they more or less kept to themselves,” the local said.

“They were seen in the local school in Cloggernaugh on Thursday registering the twins for playschool in September.”

An incident room has been set up at Castlebar Garda station. Gardaí are appealing for witnesses. Anyone who can assist with this investigation are asked to contact Castlebar Garda station on 094 9038200 or the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111.