Gardaí hope further pathology tests explain how Seema Banu died

CCTV and social media footage to be reviewed as part of murder investigation

Detectives investigating the murders of two children and the death of their mother in Dublin have been piecing together their last known movements and contacts they had in their final days.

Gardaí were trying to establish the identity of every person seen last week around their house in Ballinteer where their bodies were found, with footage taken from privately installed cameras and CCTV systems on local businesses and roads to be painstakingly reviewed.

Telephone, social media and messaging app activity was also being reviewed in a bid to establish when Seema Banu (37), her daughter Asfira Riza (11) and son Faizan Syed (6) were last seen alive or contacted by family and friends.

Postmortems on the remains of the two children have confirmed they were murdered, by strangulation. Once the results of the postmortems on the children’s remains were confirmed last Friday, the case was classified as a murder investigation.


A ligature was also found with the remains of Ms Banu and the postmortem has established this brought about her death. However, precisely how that happened, and specifically whether she was murdered, has yet to be established.

Conclusive findings

Gardaí are concerned that without a conclusive finding about Ms Banu’s cause of death, the investigation may become very complex and would become frustrated.

Further pathology testing was planned in a bid to bring clarity to that crucial aspect of the case and gardaí were hopeful more work in that area would lead to a breakthrough.

Garda sources said unless investigators could conclusively determine that Ms Banu was murdered, and did not take her own life, the possibility that nobody else was involved in all three deaths could never be ruled out.

However, the same sources added the murder investigation into the deaths of the children may yield information, including forensic evidence, that would “put more context” on their mother’s death.

“It may put another person at the scene at the time of all three deaths and obviously that would be very significant,” said one source.

The family, who were from India, were living at a house on Llewellyn Court, Ballinteer, where their bodies were found by gardaí early last Wednesday afternoon.

Local people were concerned for Ms Banu and her children as they had not seen them for several days and the blinds in the house were drawn and so they called gardaí to report their concerns.

Water damage

When gardaí from Dundrum Garda station arrived at the house and forced their way in, Ms Banu was found dead in a bedroom of the semi-detached house and her son and daughter were dead in another bedroom. Their bodies had been there for several days and a tap had been left running in the property, causing significant damage.

Gardaí are expected to interview Ms Banu's family in India and also speak to people in her social circle in Ireland, where she had been living for a number of years, in a bid to learn everything about her life in the days leading to her death.

Garda sources said building a picture of the lives of the mother and her children over the past year, during which they moved house and the children changed schools, may also prove important for the investigation.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times