Ballymun murder: Lisa Thompson may have been dead for several days before she was found

Gardaí recover and examine mobile phone to see who she was last in contact with

Mother of two Lisa Thompson (52), who was stabbed to death in her north Dublin home, may have been dead for several days before her remains were discovered, gardaí say.

Ms Thompson's mobile phone has been recovered in her Ballymun home and was being examined by gardaí on Wednesday to see who she was last in contact with.

It is hoped this will also show when she last left her home and provide evidence of any relationships she may have had in the recent past, which gardaí believe could prove vital.

Supt Darren McCarthy, who is leading the murder inquiry from Ballymun Garda station, said investigators were looking for information about Ms Thompson’s movements as far back as last Saturday.

While he made no reference to when the dead woman was fatally attacked, Garda sources believed she made have lay dead for some time, possibly several days, before a concerned neighbour raised the alarm by calling 999 seeking an ambulance just after 3pm on Tuesday.

When paramedics arrived at the house they called gardaí and the murder was discovered. The house on Sandyhill Gardens, where Ms Thompson lived alone, was sealed off as a crime scene.

“Lisa had been the subject of a serious physical assault and suffered significant injuries,” Supt McCarthy said. “Lisa was a 52-year-old woman, she was well known in her local community, which is shocked over the violent and traumatic death of Lisa.”

He added gardaí were unaware of any threats made against her or any reason why she would fear for her safety and that gardaí had “an open mind as to the motive of this attack at this time”.

While a lot of information had been received from people in Ballymun in the first 24 hours of the murder investigation and gardaí were grateful for it, more co-operation was required, Supt McCarthy said. Specifically, anyone who saw Lisa or knew anything about her movements since last Saturday, May 7th, was asked to come forward.

The investigation team also wanted to examine any video footage recorded by motorists and others around the Sandyhill area of Ballymun since last Saturday. Any footage recorded in nearby streets – including Maywood Crescent and Balbutcher Lane – was also being sought for the same period.

‘Kind, gentle woman’

On Wednesday evening, gardaí said a postmortem examination had now been completed by the State Pathologist and a preliminary report provided to the investigating team. Gardaí said details were not being released for operational reasons.

Indications from the crime scene suggest the mother and former youth work was stabbed at least 10 times. She was from Ballymun, went to school there in her younger days and had lived there all her adult life.

Gardaí said all leads were being explored in the case and no arrests had been made by Wednesday afternoon.

Neighbours and those paying tribute to Ms Thompson online described her as “lovely” and a “kind, gentle woman”.

A number of locals described hearing sirens sometime at after 3pm on Tuesday as the emergency services arrived into the small estate, adding that was the first time they realised what had happened. Many people passing by claimed crime was rising in the area, while others offered a more favourable view.

"My daughter's friend lives around here on the road and they never had any trouble with it," said Bernie Hayes, who passed the scene on her way to visit a friend.

The house at which the incident took place, a two-storey property at one end of a 10-home terrace, had blinds drawn in each window. The victim’s children – a boy and girl in their early teenage years – were not in their mother’s home when she was attacked or when her remains were discovered on Tuesday afternoon.

Postmortem

Chief State Pathologist Linda Mulligan carried out a preliminary examination of the remains at the scene on Tuesday before they were removed to the City Morgue, Whitehall, where the full postmortem was set to be completed on Wednesday.

Garda Headquarters said an incident room had been established at Ballymun Garda station. A family liaison officer had also been appointed to offer assistance and information to Ms Thompson’s family.

Gardaí in Ballymun are appealing to anyone with information to come forward, adding they could contact the investigation team at the local station on (01) 666 4400 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times