Murder inquiry expected after woman’s death in Kerry

Susan Dunne found in upstairs room of home in Lixnaw

Garda near a house where the body of a woman was found in Lixnaw, Co Kerry today. Photograph: Domnick Walsh

Garda near a house where the body of a woman was found in Lixnaw, Co Kerry today. Photograph: Domnick Walsh


Gardaí are tomorrow expected to begin a murder inquiry following the completion of a post-mortem examination on the body of a woman found in an house in north Kerry this morning.

The body of the woman, named locally as Susan Dunne, was found by a neighbour shortly before 10am in a bedroom of the bungalow she shared with her son, Patrick (19) at Ballinageragh, Lixnaw about 12 kilometres from Listowel.

Gardaí were notified and went to the scene and a local GP pronounced Ms Dunne dead before the scene was cordoned off and gardai requested the services of the State Pathologist’s office to carry out a preliminary examination at the scene and a post-morte.

Assistant State pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster arrived at the scene shortly after 5pm and carried out a preliminary examination on Ms Dunne’s body at the house before the dead woman was removed to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee for a post-mortem tomorrow.

It’s understood that Ms Dunne, who was in her early 50s and separated, had suffered a number of serious injuries including to the head when she was found in the house which is down a quiet boreen around two kilometres from Lixnaw village.

Gardaí arrested a 19 year old man at about 1pm in the greater Listowel area for questioning in connection wtih Ms Dunne’s death and he was brought to Listowel Garda Station where he was last night being held under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Ms Dunne, who is understood to have been born in the UK, was chairperson of the Kerry Autism Action and was described as a real driving force behind the charity as she helped raise funds and helped people obtain services for children with autism.

“Susan was a very private person but she put her whole life and soul into helping families with children with autism, helping them to access services and giving them advice on schools as well as legal issues - she was just so helpful,” said one informed source.

“She was totally devoted to her son, Patrick and he was totally devoted to her,” said the source adding that news of her death had been greeted with shock and dismay by all involved in autism and special needs services in Kerry.

Local Lixnaw parish priest, Fr Maurice Brick, who was called to the scene at about 1.30pm and administered the last rites to Ms Dunne, tonight spoke of the terrible sense of shock in the community at the news of the tragedy.

“This is a rural community where people are very tightly knit and they look out for each other, particularly for their neighbours. The events of today have numbed everybody and perople are trying to support one another,” said Fr Brick.

Fr Brick said that Ms Dunne was her son, Patrick’s “soulmate, minder and carer which added to the pathos of the situation” and he revealed that he would be asking for prayers for Ms Dunne and her family as mass last night in Lixnaw.