Gardaí are investigating whether Killarney’s (75) murdered grandmother was the focus of threats before she was killed


Gardaí are investigating whether Killarney’s murdered grandmother, Miriam Burns, was the focus of the threats and lived in fear of anyone she knew.

The revelation came as coroners were looking for land near an old Killarney and in a trawl searched for a well directly linked to the arrest of a man in his 50s for the murder of Mrs Burns.

Uniformed officers and detectives began a detailed search of an area around the old well yesterday morning.

A second site near Ross Castle was also investigated.

A source said the main objective of the search was to recover clothing and materials that could possibly be linked to the murder.

“Forensic findings will be absolutely critical in this investigation,” the source said.

Kerry Gardaí believes Ms Burns, who was 75, was fatally assaulted at her home between last Friday and last Monday.

Detectives fear Ms Burns was beaten to death at her home by someone she knows.

They also fear she had been dead for some time when she was discovered Monday noon.

They are now investigating whether Ms Burns was the target of threatening behavior some time ago and whether this may have been linked to the circumstances of her death.

An Garda Síochána on Tuesday night launched a murder investigation into the death of the kind-hearted grandmother and mother of four, hailed as “Killarney’s smiling wife.”

Detectives arrested a man in his 50s within an hour of confirming the murder investigation. He was known to the woman.

The man, who was arrested in the South Kerry area, was taken to Killarney Garda railway station. He was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Killarney’s solicitor, Padraig O’Connell, visited Garda Station and will act on the person’s behalf.

The arrested man has been medically examined and has taken both meal and rest breaks so far.

He was interrogated all day yesterday.

The man was taken by Gardaí to both Killarney sites raided by forensic experts as part of their inquiries yesterday.

His term expires today, by which time Gardaí must decide whether to charge him or release him.

Gardaí declined to release the results of an autopsy for operational reasons, but confirmed they are treating the woman’s death as a homicide.

No funeral details have been announced for Ms Burns.

Emotional tributes were paid to Ms Burns, who was feted by shocked friends and neighbors.

She was found dead in a living room of her two-story townhouse around noon on Monday.

Neighbors had called the house after one of Ms Burns’ children, who lives abroad, was deeply concerned at not being able to reach her.

The pensioner has lived in the Ardshanavooly area for most of her adult life but is said to be originally from Milltown.

She comes from a large and well respected family in South Kerry.

Mrs. Burns was known as an avid gardener and for the stunning roses she grew.

Councilor Donal Grady, who lives in Ardshanavooly, paid tribute to Miriam Burns, whom he knew personally and described as a wonderful mother and grandmother.

“The smiling lady is gone,” he said.

“This is a great loss for Killarney. She had a kind word for everyone. She had a smile for everyone — but now that smile is gone.”

“This is a very narrow city. Everyone here knows everyone and their loss will be deeply felt.”

Ms Burns had lived on the old housing estate since the 1970s and was known for her involvement in community groups and her fondness for cycling to destinations around Killarney.

Neighbors said they saw Ms Burns on her bike almost every day around the property and in the town centre.

Her neighbor Ann Cronin said it was “a desperate tragedy” for the Killarney estate, family and the entire community.

“She really was a lovely person. She was very good to her family, friends and neighbors. To be honest, everyone is desperate.”

Neighbor Paul O’Shea fought back tears at the news of her death.

“It’s awful, really awful. She was a lovely, lovely woman. She had a kind word for everyone she met. It (the tragedy) hurts.”

Tom Wharton, who lived in Ardshanavooly for seven years, said Mrs Burns always had a cheerful wave and a warm smile for the neighbours.

“It’s such a sad, sad story. It’s a desperate thing to happen, especially to such a nice woman.”

Councilor Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan said it was a desperately sad day for Killarney.

“She was a very elegant lady and a kind person.”

“Miriam has a large extended family in Killarney and they really are fabulous people. They are well known and highly respected in the city. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.”

“This has impacted every part of Killarney. Miriam was a lovely woman and you would see her up and down town on her bike. She was a fabulous woman who was always smiling and giving a warm wave to everyone she met. She loved talking to people and she chatted all day.”

Ardshanavooly is a popular residential area within walking distance of Killarney town center and popular local amenities such as the Killarney Outlet Centre.

Ms Burns has four children, some of whom now live abroad. She also comes from a large South Kerry family.

She loved to travel and regularly visited European cities, often traveling to meet some of her children. Gardaí are investigating whether Killarney’s (75) murdered grandmother was the focus of threats before she was killed

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