GARDAÍ believes mother-of-four Miriam Burns may have been strangled by her killer as they continue to investigate her brutal murder.
The 75-year-old’s body was found at her home in Kerry on Monday and blood around her face showed she had been the victim of a violent attack.
Detectives fear she was brutally beaten to death at her home and had been dead for some time when discovered.
Sources have stated that markings on her neck also indicated an apparent attempt to strangle her.
Investigators initiated a murder investigation into the death on Tuesday evening.
A man arrested and questioned by Gardaí on suspicion of murdering Ms Burns, 75, has been released without charge.
The man, in his 50s and known to the deceased, was questioned for three days in connection with the killing of the woman hailed as “Killarney’s smiling wife”.
Gardaí will now prepare a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter.
Detectives arrested a man in his 50s within an hour of confirming the murder investigation.
The man, who was arrested in the South Kerry area, was taken to Killarney Garda station where he was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allowed him to be questioned for up to 24 hours.
Killarney’s defense attorney Padraig O’Connell visited Garda station and is acting on the person’s behalf.
The man has been medically evaluated and has been taking both meal and rest breaks for the past three days.
He was questioned all Wednesday and Thursday.
His term expired at noon and Gardaí released him without charge.
However, the man is linked to Gardaí over a separate and entirely unrelated matter.
The man was taken by Gardaí on Wednesday to two locations in Killarney being raided by forensic experts as part of their investigation.
Uniformed officers and detectives conducted a detailed search of an area around the old wishing well on Wednesday morning. A second site near Ross Castle was also investigated.
The main aim of the search operation is said to be the recovery of clothing and material that may be connected to the killing.
A source said the investigation into Ms Burns’ murder is now at an advanced stage, adding: “Forensic findings will be absolutely crucial in this investigation.”
Gardaí believe Ms Burns was fatally attacked at her home between Friday and Monday.
They are investigating if she was the target of threats some time ago and if this may be linked to her death.
Gardaí refused to release the results of an autopsy for operational reasons, but confirmed they are treating the pensioner’s death as a homicide.
“On Tuesday at University Hospital Kerry (UHK), State Pathologist Dr. Margot Bolster performed an autopsy, the results of which will not be published for operational reasons,” said a Garda spokesman.
“An interim depot was set up at Killarney Garda railway station and a murder investigation was launched under the direction of a senior investigating officer.
“A family liaison officer has been appointed and continues to keep the family informed of the investigation.
“Gardaí is appealing to all those who were in the Ardshanavooly area of Killarney between 5pm Friday (12th August) and 1pm Monday (15th August) and observed activities that caught their attention, to report.”
Neighbors had called the house after one of Ms Burns’ children, who lives abroad, was deeply concerned at not being able to reach her.
They discovered the pensioner lifeless and with visible injuries in the living room and immediately called Gardaí.
Detectives try to confirm their last known moves. Local sources said Ms Burns, who has been very active in a number of Killarney-based groups, had not been seen at the scene since last Friday night.
There was no sign of forced entry into the townhouse.
House-to-house surveys were conducted in what is described by locals as a very quiet residential part of Killarney. CCTV surveillance camera footage from the area, which is close to a Tesco mall and a McDonald’s outlet, is expected to prove crucial to the investigation.
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 a keen gardener and best known for the roses she grew.
Councilor Donal Grady, who lives in Ardshanavooly, paid tribute to Mrs 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 in the old housing estate since the 1970s and was known for her involvement in community groups. 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 Ms Burns always had a happy wave and a warm smile for the neighbours.
“It’s such a sad, sad story. It’s a desperate thing that’s happening, especially to such a nice woman,” he said.
Councilor Niall “Botty” O’Callaghan said it was a desperately sad day for Killarney.
“She was a very elegant lady and a kind person,” he said. “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 would chat 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 loved to travel and regularly visited European cities, often traveling to meet some of her children.
https://www.independent.ie/news/gardai-believe-killarney-grandmother-miriam-burns-75-may-have-been-strangled-by-her-killer-41920987.html Man arrested on suspicion of killing Killarney’s grandmother Miriam Burns, 75, is released without charge