Gardai quiz man following death of young mother found with serious head injuries

Gardai quiz man following death of young mother found with serious head injuries

Gardai were last night quizzing a man over the violent death of a young mother found with serious head injuries in her home in Kilkenny.

One theory being explored by investigators is that the victim, named locally as 29-year-old Rita Apine, may have been pushed down the stairs.

Ms Apine is understood to have been living in Ireland for a number of years after moving here from an Eastern European country.

It is understood that she had a young child.

The 30-year-old man, who is known to the victim, was last night detained at Kilkenny garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 after being arrested yesterday afternoon.

Gardai were alerted to the incident by the ambulance service, who had got an emergency call to attend the home.

The incident was initially believed to have been an accidental fall.

It is understood that the emergency services administered CPR to Ms Apine at the scene and she was initially responsive.

However, she had been critically injured and died some time later at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny.

Investigators decided foul play had occurred after a review of Ms Apine's injuries and an account was given about what happened earlier in the Freshford property.

Ms Apine and her partner moved to the apartment in Bridge Street last year.

A woman who witnessed emergency services desperately trying to save her life said she initially thought the young mum had passed out.

The neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: "I was coming up the road at about 1pm and saw quite a crowd of medical staff trying to resuscitate her - there was one ambulance and two fire engines.

"She was being treated just outside her house at the doorstep. I thought it was a woman who may have passed out but now know that this wasn't the case.

"The guards then came on the scene and I understand there are CCTV cameras around the town, which may help.

"It's such a sad thing to have happened."

Meanwhile, local Fianna Fáil councillor Michael McCarthy said people in the area had been rocked by the tragedy.

"It's very, very sad. This is just a quiet, rural village and everybody here knows each other," he said.

Mr McCarthy said he knew the victim to see but not by name, and would often see her or her partner in the area in the mornings.

"Bridge Street is a quiet area. There are a few apartments there and, like all apartments, people come and go," he said.

A neighbour of Ms Apine, who did not want to be named, said: "The mother had a little girl and you would often see them walking around the town.

"I'm honestly so shocked and saddened by it all.

"To have something like this happen here is really very tragic."

The office of the State pathologist was notified and a post-mortem examination will be carried out on the body.

Gardai in Kilkenny are appealing for anyone with any information in relation to the investigation into the woman's death to contact them at Kilkenny garda station on 056 7775000, the garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any garda station.

Gardai are particularly appealing to anybody who visited the local Costcutter shop, or who may have been in the Bridge Street area of Freshford village between the hours of 8am and 1pm on Sunday, May 14 and who may have heard or noticed anything out of the ordinary to contact them.  

Ryan Nugent/Ken Foy