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‘Chief suspect’ in murder of Kerry granny Miriam Burns (75) released without charge

The man, who is in his 50s, was detained yesterday and questioned at a Garda station in Cork city

Miriam Burns

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A man described as the chief suspect in the murder of Miriam Burns has been released without charge.

The 75-year-old died at her home in Ardshanavooley, Killarney on Monday 15th August.

The man, who is in his 50s, was detained yesterday and questioned at a Garda station in Cork city.

He was released last night and Gardaí say investigations are ongoing.

Ms Burns, a mother-of-four, was found dead at her Killarney home on August 15. She had died violently following an assault.

A murder probe was launched and as part of that investigation gardaí detained a man for questioning at Cork Prison yesterday morning.

He was held at a garda station in the city and quizzed about the murder.

The inmate is serving a jail sentence for non-violent crime and was known to Miriam Burns.

He is understood to be considered the chief suspect in the murder probe and was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

Gardai said this morning: “The man (50s) arrested yesterday morning, Wednesday 8th February 2023, as part of the Garda investigation into the discovery of a body of a woman (70s) in unexplained circumstances in Killarney, County Kerry on Monday 15th August 2022, has been released without charge in relation to this matter.

"A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. Investigations are ongoing.”

Since the murder last August gardaí have been continuing to gather a large amount of evidence, including CCTV footage, DNA, data records and witness statements, prior to today's arrest.

Mrs Burns was known as "Killarney's smiling lady" and was renowned in the area for her kindness and generosity.

She was discovered at lunchtime when a relative, who is based overseas, became concerned after he was unable to contact her.

The man rang an Ardshanavooly neighbour and he went with another neighbour to check on her welfare.

Both were shocked to see the grandmother lying lifeless in the front room and they immediately left the property and contacted the gardaí.

The death was immediately treated as suspicious given the visible injuries to Mrs Burns.

Gardaí sealed off the property and Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster conducted a post mortem examination at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) in Tralee.

Shortly after the post-mortem was concluded, gardaí confirmed that Mrs Burns death was being treated as murder.

There was no sign of a disturbance inside the house associated with a burglary.

The pensioner had apparently tried to defend herself from her attacker with signs of a struggle in the room.

However, she died from a violent assault in which she was both beaten and strangled.

Mrs Burns was discovered lying on her side with traces of blood around her face and mouth.

The last reported sighting of Mrs Burns - who was well-known in Killarney for cycling to events - was on the afternoon of August 12 last year.

Hundreds attended Mrs Burns' funeral service at St Mary's Cathedral on August 21 as a mark of the respect in which she was held by the Killarney community.

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