Latest: Gardaí treating death of Limerick pensioner Rose Hanrahan as murder

Update - 8.49pm: Gardaí have upgraded the death of 78-year-old Rose Hanrahan to a murder investigation.

Gardaí believe that the Limerick woman met a violent death after a post-mortem examination took place today.

A major witness appeal has been launched, and anyone who can help is asked to contact Henry Street Gardaí or any Garda station.

Her body was found in a downstairs room of her home at New Road in Thomandgate at 1.30pm yesterday by her sister Evelyn and her husband Jimmy when they called to return a handbag she had left behind at their house.

Rose Hanrahan.

6.46pm: 'All I want is to see her,' says sister of pensioner Rosie Hanrahan found dead in Limerick

By David Raleigh

A sister of a pensioner found dead in suspicious circumstances, fought back tears today as she revealed they were both to spend Christmas Day together in the house where her beloved sibling’s body was discovered.

Helen Carmody said she was “in a daze” since her older sister Rosie Hanrahan, (aged 78), was found dead by family members in her Limerick home, yesterday.

“All I want is to see her,” Ms Carmody said, clutching a photograph of Rosie, at her home in Kileely.

Gardaí are treating the discovery of Ms Hanrahan's body as a “suspicious death”, but they have not released any specific details relating to their investigation.

Ms Carmody said she had faith the gardaí would find the right answers as to how her sister died.

CCTV footage from security cameras near the house, at New Road, Thomondgate, was being harvested all day by gardaí. House-to-house garda enquiries in the area also continued.

The cottage on New Road, Thomondgate in Limerick where a woman's body was found. Pic: Liam Burke Press 22

“I'm putting my faith in the cameras,” Ms Carmody said.

“We always spent Christmas together in her house because she'd cook dinner. I wouldn't cook it right, she'd tell me.

"We would have spent Christmas together in her house. It's only when (Christmas) happens that (this) will really sink in. It doesn't feel real now."

She said Rosie’s body was discovered by their other sister Evelyn and her husband Jimmy when they called yesterday afternoon to return a handbag Rosie had left behind at their house.

“I'm in a daze. It's like it has not really happened."

She said: “(Rosie) was very careful going to bed. She'd lock all the doors.

“She’s going to be a big loss to all of us. I will miss her dreadfully. I can't make sense of it really.

“She never did anything to anybody. She was very good to everybody and then this.

“Everybody liked her. Rosie was very good living. She loved the gardening and she went to bingo.”

Ms Carmody said Rosie felt secure in the home she had resided in for the past 40 years, and that she did not have an alarm installed.

She said: “She was very independent. She wasn't a nervous person, as long as everything was locked up and she went to bed, then she was grand.”

Fianna Fáil TD, Willie O’Dea, a family friend, visited the scene. “It's just an appalling tragedy. There are no words to describe it really," he said.

The Thomodgate community were distraught at the loss of the popular pensioner.

Patricia Hayes, whose home adjoins Ms Hanrahan's, said she was in deep shock.

She said: “It's hard to believe Rosie is gone. It's devastating. I hope she's resting in heaven with her husband Mike."

Another neighbour, Julie Butler, wept in her sitting room as she tried to come to terms with the news.

Ms Butler said: “What can I say about Rose? She was just a lovely lady. She helped out everyone.”

Garda forensic officers and a DNA scientist combed Ms Hanrahan’s house all day for clues as to how she died.

Forensics officers at the scene today. Pic: Liam Burke Press 22

Gardaí were awaiting the results of a post mortem before deciding the course of their probe.

Superintendent Derek Smart, Henry Street garda station, appealed for anyone with information that may help them to come forward in confidence.


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