'violent struggle' | 

Bruna Fonseca (28) found dead in Cork ‘fought to defend herself’ from killer

The young woman had been living in Ireland for less than a year and was recently working for a Cork contract cleaning company.

Undated family handout photo issued by Gardai of 28-year-old Bruna Fonseca, whose body was discovered in a residential property on Liberty Street, Cork City on Sunday© PA

The body of Bruna Fonseca (28) is removed from the flat on Liberty Street in Cork city. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision© Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Ralph RiegelIndependent.ie

Gardaí are investigating whether CCTV footage captured Bruna Fonseca (28) leaving a city centre pub with her suspected killer during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The woman fought to defend herself after returning from a night out to a Cork flat where she was overpowered, beaten and strangled.

Gardaí are set to launch a murder investigation into the killing of the Brazilian national, whose body was discovered in a flat on Liberty Street in Cork city centre early yesterday.

The young woman had been living in Ireland for less than a year and was recently working for a Cork contract cleaning company.

After graduating from university in Brazil, she worked as a librarian in the Formiga area near Rio de Janeiro.

Her recent duties in Cork included working at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) – located less than 50 metres from the flat where she died.​

Marks on Ms Fonseca’s neck are believed to indicate she was manually strangled after a violent struggle in which she was also beaten.

The body of Bruna Fonseca (28) is removed from the flat on Liberty Street in Cork city. Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision© Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Gardaí made the discovery at 6.30am after being alerted to an incident at the flat above a hair salon.

Detectives arrested a man – who was known to Ms Fonseca – in the area a short time later.

The man is in his late 20s and he was detained under Section 4 of the 1984 Criminal Justice Act for questioning at the Bridewell Garda Station.

He can be questioned for up to 24 hours.

Ms Fonseca was discovered by gardaí and paramedics in the flat on Liberty Street, just off North Main Street, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

It is believed Ms Fonseca was out in Cork city centre on Saturday evening to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

She was caught on CCTV security camera footage in the city centre with some images believed to show her with her suspected killer.

The flat is near Cork city centre and is a short distance from Cork Courthouse on Washington Street and the Bridewell Garda Station. Traces of blood were found in the flat.

Despite attempts to revive her, Ms Fonseca was pronounced dead at the scene a short time after paramedics arrived.

The scene was sealed off to allow a full forensic examination.

Gardaí began to view CCTV security camera ­footage from business premises in the area to determine all movements to and from the flat.

Ms Fonseca’s body was transferred to Cork University Hospital for a full post-mortem examination by assistant state pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster.

Gardaí refused to release the results of the post-mortem examination last night for operational reasons.

However, it is understood the investigation is set to be upgraded to a murder probe.

Meanwhile, a family liaison officer has been appointed to assist Ms Fonseca’s family in Brazil.

In a statement last night, MUH paid tribute to Ms Fonseca for what she had contributed to the hospital.

“On behalf of management and staff at Mercy University Hospital Cork and Bidvest Noonan’s Contract Cleaners we are saddened and shocked at the tragic and unexpected death of Bruna Fonseca,” a spokesperson said.

“Even though she was only working for a short time for the company at the hospital, she was considered a hard and diligent worker and an esteemed colleague.

“We extend our deepest condolences to her friends in Cork, and her family and friends in Brazil. May she rest in peace.”

Gardaí carried out door-to-door inquiries in the area to determine whether anyone heard or saw anything suspicious over New Year’s Eve and into the early hours of New Year’s Day.

The area has a large number of flats and detectives believe that a significant number of people must have been in the area. A large number of revellers were in the area on Saturday night as people celebrated New Year’s Eve with the general vicinity having a number of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.

Gardaí also want to confirm the last known movements of Ms Fonseca. Detectives are checking with fast-food delivery services to determine whether any meals were brought to the property over New Year’s Eve and whether drivers heard or saw anything untoward.

The area around Liberty Street is one of the most multicultural in Cork with a large number of nationalities living in the numerous flats and apartments around the area off North Main Street.

One resident, George Ndukah, who did not know the deceased, said everyone living locally was shocked by the tragedy.

“It is a terrible thing. A lot of people only found out about it when they went to church and saw the policemen and the police tape,” he said.

One mass-goer, who asked not to be named, said: “God help us, but what an awful start to the New Year. We are living in very violent times.

“May God have mercy on that poor girl and her family” she said.

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