Couple found dead in Co Cavan house after suspected accidental poisoning

Gardaí believe man and woman may have died after consuming homemade alcohol

Gardaí believe a couple found dead in their home in Co Cavan may have died due to accidental poisoning.

The two bodies were discovered in the house in Cloverhill, Belturbet, Co Cavan, by a relative on Sunday evening. Gardaí were called to the home at around 8pm.

On Monday, the man and woman were named locally as Rolandas Jarmalavicius and Rita Martinkiene. They were in their 40s and originally from Lithuania.

Gardaí are investigating all the circumstances of the deaths but early indications suggest a murder investigation will not be opened.


There was no obvious signs of injury or violence on the bodies and some indications the couple may have died as a result of accidental poisoning, possibly from homemade alcohol.

The possibility of a gas leak is also being considered, although there were no signs of this when the bodies were discovered.

“The most likely next step will be sending a file to the coroner, followed by an inquest,” a source said. “At the minute foul play isn’t suspected.

The house has been sealed off by gardaí ahead of a technical examination of the scene.

Both bodies have been taken to Navan for postmortem examinations.

A Garda spokesman said gardaí were “investigating all the circumstances surrounding the unexplained deaths of a man and woman at a house in the Cloverhill area of Belturbet, Co Cavan”.

The spokesman said gardaí and emergency services attended the scene Sunday evening and that “the man and woman, both aged in their 40s, were discovered deceased in the house,” he said.

It is understood the bodies were found on Sunday evening after the couple’s family raised concerns they had not heard from them in several days. An exact time of death has yet to be determined.

Mr Jarmalavicius and Ms Martinkiene moved to Ireland from Lithuania about eight years ago, and had been working north of the Border grading and packing eggs for a poultry producer near Newtownbutler.

While neighbours knew of them, one said: “They seemed nice. Kept very much to themselves. He’d do odd jobs around the place. Sell bags of sticks, that kind of thing. They were quiet, hard working, didn’t cause anyone any problems. You don’t expect this kind of thing to happen in a quiet area like this.”

Its understood Mr Jarmalavicius has family living locally.

An Garda Síochána are meanwhile working with the PSNI regarding the couple's employment background, as well as with Interpol in an attempt to contact Ms Martinkiene's family in Lithuania.

Local Independent councillor Brendan Fay said the community was “shocked” and “deeply saddened” by the couple’s deaths.

“Its devastating to wake up to something like that right on your doorstep. No one expects it. The community are understandably very shocked. Your heart goes out to the families of the couple at this time. Our prayers are with them,” said Cllr Fay.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times