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murder probe Man 'refusing to help gardaí' in investigation into mum and kids' murders

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Seema Banu (37) and her young children, six-year-old Faizan and his older sister Asfira (11)

Seema Banu (37) and her young children, six-year-old Faizan and his older sister Asfira (11)

Seema Banu (37) and her young children, six-year-old Faizan and his older sister Asfira (11)

A person of "major interest" to detectives investigating a suspected triple murder has refused to make a public appeal about the case despite being asked to by gardai.

The man has been spoken to on a number of occasions by gardaí investigating the deaths of a mother and her two children in Ballinteer earlier this week.

However, no arrests have yet been made in relation to the tragic incident and the man, described as being "uncooperative", remains a person of interest.

"He was asked whether he would like to make a media appeal but this offer has been declined," a senior source said last night.

Surveillance

"There was an expectation that if he did, it could progress the case, but obviously this has not happened. He is no longer interacting with gardaí at all," the source added.

He remains under "discreet" 24-hour garda surveillance at the city centre location where he is based as officers attempt to unravel exactly what happened earlier this week at the house in Ballinteer.

Gardaí yesterday officially confirmed that they have launched a murder investigation into the deaths of Seema Banu (37) and her young children, six-year-old Faizan and his older sister Asfira (11).

It is understood all three died from strangulation and officers are satisfied that the two children were victims of murder.

However, the post-mortem results on Ms Banu have been deemed "inconclusive."

"It cannot be definitely concluded at this stage that she was murdered but the children definitely were," a senior source said. "This is a highly complex investigation and gardaí are still carrying out a large amount of enquiries."

Gardaí had been treating the deaths as unexplained pending the results of the post-mortem examinations but, since Wednesday, have provided the full resources of a murder inquiry to the investigation team.

"Following the completion of post mortem examinations, gardaí from Dundrum Garda Station have commenced a murder investigation into all the circumstances of the events that occurred at a domestic dwelling at Llewellyn Court, Ballinteer," a spokesman said.

"Details of the post mortem results are not being released for operational reasons. No arrests have been made at this time. Gardaí continue to interview witnesses, conduct extensive door to door enquiries and gather and examine all relevant CCTV.

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"An Garda Síochána appeals to any person with any information in respect of these deaths to contact the investigation team at Dundrum Garda Station 01-6665600, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

"Investigating gardaí continue to advise that some current uninformed speculation circulating in public is unhelpful to this criminal investigation," he added.

"There is a massive forensic examination still ongoing at the property in Ballinteer which has so far failed to yield enough evidence to make an arrest," a senior source said.

"There is also an issue in relation to good quality CCTV in the location and the fact that the person of interest in the case has made no admissions."

The Sunday World previously revealed that a 36-year-old man detectives were interested in speaking to met them by appointment with a solicitor on Thursday afternoon.

It came after a garda alert was issued for the man's whereabouts which described him as being possibly armed and that he should not be approached.

Concerns have been raised about the man's welfare and he had been staying in a city centre hotel after the gruesome discovery was made.

"Gardaí had been in contact with him through a legal representative and a meeting was facilitated on Thursday. The meeting took place at a location near the city centre," the source added.

Two detectives spent over an hour taking an account from the man before he was free to go as he was not formally under arrest.

This was his second interaction with gardaí and sources say that he has been less than "co-operative" in his discussions with officers.

The body of tragic Seema was discovered as she lay face upwards on a bed in an upstairs bedroom of her home at Llewellyn Court.

The bodies of Faizan and Asfira, who attended the nearby Ballinteer Educate Together National School, were found in a separate bedroom.

It is understood that when gardaí arrived at the scene, the house was overflowing with water after a tap had been turned on in an upstairs bathroom - which may have been an attempt to interfere with forensic evidence.

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