Man charged with women's deaths

TWO men were charged yesterday in connection with the killing of two women in Co Laois and Co Limerick earlier this week.

TWO men were charged yesterday in connection with the killing of two women in Co Laois and Co Limerick earlier this week.

Mr Nigel Bainbridge, of The Rectory, Coolrain, Mountrath, Co Laois, was charged at a special sitting of Portlaoise District Court with the murder on Monday of his mother, Ms Patricia Bainbridge, at the same address.

Mr Bainbridge (28) was remanded in custody to Mountjoy Prison to appear in Portlaoise District Court tomorrow.

Mr Patrick Joseph Collins was charged at Abbeyfeale Court, Co Limerick, with the manslaughter of his wife, Ms Angela Collins (49), from Ennis, Co Clare, on Tuesday.

Mr Collins (49), an unemployed blocklayer, of Pound Street, Ballingarry, Co Limerick, was remanded in custody to Adare District Court until next Tuesday.

He was arrested under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act in Newcastle West on Tuesday.

Mr Michael Halligan (35) will appear in Dublin District Court tomorrow charged with the murder of Ms Martina Halligan (33), of Buttercup Park, Darndale, Dublin on Sunday.

Mr Halligan, of no fixed abode, has been in custody since he appeared at a special sitting of Dublin District Court last Sunday night.

Gardai in Raheny say they are not looking for anyone in connection with the death of Ms Tracey Elliott (19), of Killester, Dublin, on Monday.

Ms Elliott died of head injuries after she fell 30 feet from the roof of her former school, Our Lady of Consolation, in Collins Avenue East, Donnycarney. Gardai are taking statements for an inquest into the death. They have ruled out foul play.

The rising number of murders has prompted a call by Fianna Fail's justice spokesman, Mr John O'Donoghue, to re establish the murder squad without delay.

Urging the Government to provide adequate funding, Mr O'Donoghue added that a "very disturbing trend is that women are becoming increasingly the victims of murder". Re-establishing the murder squad would send a strong signal to the "criminal elements" in our society. The squad was disbanded in 1984 in the wake of the Kerry Babies affair.

There had been 20 murders so far this year, he added, and 41 were committed in 1995.

The last murder squad, comprising about 50 personnel, built up a "considerable amount of expertise and younger ones were trained into the squad by highly experienced performers". It had a high detection rate, he said.

During "valley periods", members of the murder squad could be employed in dealing with other serious crimes such as armed robberies.