Woman found in ditch in Co Wexford not victim of foul play

Further test results awaited to establish cause of death of woman who may be Italian

The  scene near where human remains were found at Ballyandrew, near Ferns Co Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

The scene near where human remains were found at Ballyandrew, near Ferns Co Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne


Gardaí believe that a woman whose body was found in a ditch in Co Wexford was not the victim of foul play even though they have to wait on further test results to establish what caused her death.

Senior officers are satisfied following the completion of a postmortem at Waterford University Hospital by Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Linda Mulligan on Tuesday that the woman had not suffered any trauma or injury as a result of foul play.

However Dr Mulligan needs to carry out a number of toxicology tests on the woman’s remains to try and establish the exact cause of death and this may take several weeks.

Gardaí under Chief Supt Patrick McMenamin are still trying to identify the woman whose remains were found by a lady out walking her dog at Ballyandrew near Ferns on Monday morning.

They may have to obtain dental records to confirm the woman’s identity as the remains were in an advanced state of decomposition.

Documents found in a rucksack recovered near the remains which belong to an Italian woman with UK connections who was living rough, travelling around Ireland, are still being examined by gardaí.

Detectives have not conclusively linked the rucksack to the discovery of the skeletal remains but it has given them a line of inquiry to pursue which officers are currently following up through Interpol.

It is understood the documents found include a passport which suggests that the woman may be a UK passport holder and gardaí are liaising with both Italian and UK police to see if they can assist.

Members of the public had contacted gardaí concerned about the Italian woman’s nomadic lifestyle.It is understood gardaí logged a number of these reports and their last report of her was in the Dublin and Wicklow areas around September 2017.

While gardaí have been unable to say how exactly the skeletal remains were at the scene in Ballyandrew, they do not believe they were there more than two years.

Gardaí are hoping that the toxicology and other tests due to be carried out by Dr Mulligan will give them some approximate indication as to when the woman died which would assist them in identifying her.

Gardaí have also been checking their missing persons data base to see if anyone was reported missing in Wexford in the last two years but there is no one reported missing locally who might match the remains.

Locals have expressed their shock at the discovery with many expressing surprise that people could have passed along the quiet country road without noticing the human remains lying in the ditch.

In a statement on Tuesday evening gardaí said: “It has been established that the body is that of a female in her 50s and has been there for approximately 12 months. Further toxicology tests results are awaited but there is nothing at this stage to indicate any suspicious circumstances. Investigations, including DNA tests are ongoing to confirm the identity of the body”.

Investigating gardaí are continuing to appeal for information in relation to this matter and any person with information is asked to contact Enniscorthy garda station on 053-9242580, the Garda Confidential Line 1 800 666 111 or any garda station.