suspicious death | 

Miriam Burns: Man arrested as murder probe launched into death of Killarney grandmother

Miriam Burns was found dead at her home in Killarney

Gardaí at the scene outside a house in Killarney where the body of Miriam Burns was found

Miriam Burns was found dead at her home in Killarney

Ralph Riegel  and Sinead

A man has been arrested by gardaí in Killarney as part of the investigation into the murder of grandmother Miriam Burns.

The man, who is aged in his 50s and is understood to be known to Ms Burns, has been taken to Killarney garda station where he can be questioned for an initial period of 24 hours as he is being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Killarney defence solicitor Padraig O’Connell has attended Killarney garda station where he will act for the individual.

It comes as gardaí launched a murder investigation into the death of Ms Burns.

A post mortem was completed this afternoon by the State Pathologist, thought results have not been made publicly available.

“An incident room has been established at Killarney garda station and a murder investigation has commenced under the direction of a Senior Investigating Officer, a garda spokesperson said.

"A Family Liaison Officer has been appointed and continues to keep the family informed of the investigation."

The scene remains preserved.

Gardaí at the scene outside a house in Killarney where the body of Miriam Burns was found

Meanwhile friends and neighbours of Ms Burns, who was found dead in her home, have mourned the loss of "Killarney's smiling lady."

Gardai are treating as suspicious the death of Miriam Burns (75) who was found dead in her Killarney home at lunchtime on Monday.

A post mortem examination will be conducted today at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) as Gardai formally described the death as unexplained.

However, Garda sources said they were suspicious about the nature of Mrs Burns' injuries and whether they could have been sustained in an accidental fall.

Both Gardaí and paramedics attended the scene at the Ardshanavooly housing estate in the south Kerry town after the alarm was raised at lunchtime.

Mrs Burns was discovered after friends and family had become concerned for her welfare - with relatives worried at being unable to contact her.

The area where the woman was found was immediately sealed off pending a full technical and forensic examination.

Forensic officers conducted a detailed examination of the property overnight and the property remains sealed off.

Gardaí requested the assistance of the State Pathologist Office.

A full post mortem examination will be conducted today (Tuesday) at University Hospital Kerry (UHK).

Gardaí indicated that the findings of the post mortem examination will now determine the nature of their investigation.

However, it is understood that the woman had sustained head and neck injuries which do not appear consistent with an accidental fall.

Miriam Burns was found dead at her home in Killarney

Gardaí are treating the death as suspicious and a decision on the nature of their investigation will be made today following the receipt of post mortem and forensic results.

The pensioner was discovered with blood visible around her head and face.

Detectives are now trying to confirm the last known movements of the woman.

Local sources indicated that Mrs Burns - who was very active in a number of Killarney-based groups - had not been seen locally since last Friday evening.

One garda source said a central element of their investigation will be trying to determine precisely when the pensioner died.

Detectives are also trying to confirm who may have had contact with the deceased in the hours before her death. Gardaí are hoping to speak with one person known to the deceased in respect of when they last saw the pensioner.

There was no sign of forced entry at the terraced property.

Door-to-door inquiries were being conducted today in an area described by locals as a very quiet residential part of Killarney.

CCTV security camera footage from the area, which is located close to a Tesco shopping centre and a McDonald's outlet, is expected to prove crucial in the investigation.

The pensioner lived for most of her adult life in the Ardshanavooly area but is understood to be originally from Milltown.

She is from a large and highly respected family in south Kerry.

Her home is a two storey terraced house located in a block of four properties.

Mrs Burns was known as an avid gardener and for the stunning roses she grew.

Councillor Donal Grady, who lives in Ardshanavooly, paid tribute to Miriam Burns who he knew personally and described as a wonderful mother and grandmother.

"The smiling lady is gone," he said.

"This is a big loss to Killarney. She had a kind word for everyone. She had a smile for everyone - but now that smile is gone."

"This is a very close town. Everyone knows everyone else here and her loss will be felt very deeply."

Mrs Burns lived in the mature housing estate since the 1970s and was known for her involvement in community groups and her preference to cycle to destinations around Killarney town.

Neighbours said they would see Mrs Burns on her bicycle around the estate and the town centre on almost a daily basis. Her neighbour Ann Cronin said it was "a desperate tragedy" for the estate, the family and the entire Killarney community.

"She really was a lovely person. She was very good to her family, her friends and her neighbours." "Everyone feels desperate, to be honest."

Neighbour Paul O'Shea fought back tears at the news of her death.

"It is terrible, really terrible," he said.

"She was a lovely, lovely lady. She had a kind word for everyone she met."

"It (the tragedy) is hurting."

Tom Wharton, who lived in Ardshanavooly for seven years, said Mrs Burns always had a wave and a warm smile for neighbours.

"It is such a sad, sad story," he said.

"It is a desperate thing to happen, especially to such a nice lady."

Councillor Niall 'Botty' O'Callaghan said it was a desperately sad day for Killarney.

"She was a very elegant lady and a kindhearted person."

"Miriam has a large extended family in Killarney and they are really fabulous people. They are very well known and highly respected in the town. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them."

"This has impacted on every part of Killarney. Miriam was a lovely lady and you'd see her cycling up and down the town. She was a fabulous lady, always smiling and a warm wave to anyone she met. She loved talking to people and she would chat all day."

Ardshanavooly is a popular residential area located within walking distance of Killarney town centre and popular local amenities including the Killarney Outlet Centre.

Mrs Burns has four children, several of whom now live abroad and also hails from a large family.

She adored travel and regularly visited European cities, often travelling to meet up with some of her children.

Ardshanavooly is a mature housing estate with a mix of pensioners, older families and a few younger residents with children.

The community in Ardshanavooly was last night deeply shocked by the tragedy unfolding in their estate

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