Man arrested over murder of Seema Banu and her two children

Statement on Saturday is first time gardaí have referred to Ms Banu’s death as murder

Seema Banu with her son Faizan Syed and her daughter Asfira Riza.

Seema Banu with her son Faizan Syed and her daughter Asfira Riza.

 

Gardaí investigating the murders of Seema Banu (37), her son Faizan Syed (6) and daughter Asfira Riza (11) have arrested a suspect in the case.

The arrested man is in his 30s and has lived in Dublin for many years. He has been a person of interest to gardaí since the murder investigation was commenced last month.

The man was arrested on Saturday morning and was taken for questioning to Dundrum Garda station, where the investigation team is based.

He was still being held on Saturday evening under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

He can be questioned for up to 24-hours without charge, though a suspect’s period in detention can be longer if there are breaks between Garda interviews while he is in custody.

A statement issued by Garda Headquarters said the man was arrested by gardaí “investigating the murder of a female adult and two children” whose remains were found at a house on Llywellen Court, Ballinteer, south Dublin on October 28th.

Saturday’s statement was the first time gardaí had referred to Ms Banu’s death as a murder. Previous statements said a murder investigation was underway and was trying to determine all of the circumstances of the deaths of the mother and her two children.

While the postmortems on the children’s remains confirmed somebody had murdered them using ligatures, it was not clear if Ms Banu had been murdered. A ligature was also found with her remains.

Gardaí strongly suspected from the outset of the investigation that Ms Banu and been murdered and her children’s lives taken by the same killer.

The statement issued on Saturday morning and the arrest of the suspect formally confirms all three deaths were being treated by gardaí as murders.

Last week Garda sources said the inconclusive results of Ms Banu’s postmortem would not derail their efforts to bring a murder charge relating to her death.

The same officers said physical and circumstantial evidence was being gathered and if it suggested Ms Banu had been murdered along with her children, a murder charge could be pursued in all three cases.

Ms Banu, who was from India, lived in a house on Llywellen Court with her two children but in the last week of October neighbours became concerned for their welfare.

The family had not been seen for several days and the blinds in their home were drawn.

Neighbours tried to contact Ms Banu but were unsuccessful and so decided to ring gardai and report their concerns.

When gardaí arrived and forced their way into the house they found Ms Banu’s remains in an upstairs bedroom and the bodies of Faizan Syed (6) and Asfira Riza (11) in another bedroom.

A tap had been left running for several days in the property and had caused extensive damage.

Garda sources said the murder investigation was focused on gathering small pieces of evidence to bring together, even if all of the evidence was circumstantial.

Detectives working on the murder investigation were, according to one source, working on a “deep dive” into Ms Banu’s life and state of mind in the last weeks and months of her life.

Her friends and family in India were set to be interviewed. Any threats she felt she was under were also being reviewed. Gardaí were also focused on establishing who visited the house around the time Ms Banu and her children died there, with CCTV and phone records being reviewed.

A similar focus has been placed on any persons of interest, especially their movements around the time of the deaths and the contacts they had with other people in the days and weeks leading up to the deaths.