herald

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Aoife's body dumped in barrel

AOIFE Phelan's body was dumped in an oil barrel and buried in a deep pit, it emerged today.

Her remains were found in a rubbish hole near the home of the chief suspect for the grisly murder.

Gardai have still not disclosed how the 30-year-old childminder was murdered.

A 24-year-old man -- who had a brief relationship with Aoife --was rearrested at around 6pm yesterday and was expected to appear in court later today.

Flowers were placed near the scene of the five foot deep hole, covered in rubbish and rubble, where the search team made the grim discovery.

It is believed gardai were contacted by a local farmer who had become concerned after witnessing recent activity at the site.

The activities were noticed by a local farmer who contacted gardai on Monday.

The filling of the hole had been observed by the farmer and he became concerned in light of Aoife's disappearance.

Gardai made the grim discovery at around 11.30am yesterday. The house where Aoife's body was found was today sealed off by garda today.

But against the backdrop of the trucks, haulage machinery and storage sheds, two teddy bears on bouquets of flowers placed at the entrance gate were a poignant and sad site.

"For 2 beautiful angels" read the message on one of the bunches of flowers, signed simply by a Laura B.

And on another card a message of sympathy was left by Kevin and Ciara Burtonstow.

A third bouquet of flowers contained a card, with 'Aoife' written on the front followed by three kisses.

Forensic specialists have also been examining a 4x4 vehicle, which was seized by gardai on Sunday, as well as Aoife's handbag and mobile phone, which were also recovered as a result of their inquiries.

Seized

An examination of calls and texts made on Aoife's phone and on another mobile seized during the investigation showed that there had been a lot of phone traffic on the evening of her disappearance.

Gardai were already aware from interviews with the friend that Aoife had met on Thursday week that she had been in contact with somebody on her phone.

She had left her employer's home at The Hermitage, Portlaoise, where she worked as a live-in au pair, at 6.15pm and met her friend at the Borris Road roundabout in the town.

She was last seen alive at 8.10pm, 14 days ago, when she left her friend's house at Colliers View estate in the town, apparently to meet the person who had been in contact with her through her mobile phone.

It is understood that this man who had threatened her in the past had told her he had car trouble and asked her to meet with him. She had previously bombarded him with text messages.

The alarm was raised after she failed to turn up for work the next morning and her employers got in touch with Aoife's family, who reported her disappearance to the gardai later that day.

hnews@herald.ie

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