herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

Gardai search city flat where body-in-bag Rudo spent her final hours

THIS is the flat where gardai believe that 26-year-old Rudo Mawere - whose body was found in a suitcase - spent her final hours.

Our photo shows gardai outside the property in Aughrim Street, at Stoneybatter, Dublin, where forensic experts carried out a detailed search.

They believe she was there on Saturday evening.

Her body was found dumped in a travel bag on nearby St David's Terrace, Blackhorse Avenue, early on Sunday morning.

Rudo had been dead for over 12 hours when the grim discovery was made.

Sources say that gardai have identified a chief suspect in the murder hunt and are trying to find him.

"We don't know if he has fled the country, but we are sure that he knows that gardai want to talk with him," said a source.

"This was not a very well- thought-out murder - it was more than likely a spur-of-the-moment thing. Gardai are investigating if this person has a history of violence," the source added.

The suspect is an African man who was well known to Rudo.

Contact

A Malawian source, who did not wish to be named, told the Herald: "Rudo told her housemate that she was going to see a man on Saturday morning before she left the house.

"We have tried to contact him but he is not answering both his phone numbers.

"His phone has been switched off since Saturday and no one seems to know where he is. He's been in Ireland for a while; he had a job but lately, I'm not sure he has been working.

Sources close to the man added: "We haven't heard anything from him at all, we don't know where he is and have been unable to contact him.

"This came as such a shock - we can't imagine that he would do anything like that. Maybe he's left because he panicked when he heard what happened to Rudo."

Witnesses have come forward to tell officers about a heated row between a man and a woman in the Aughrim Street area on Saturday evening and a taxi driver also provided gardai with key information in the case. The taxi man has told gardai that he picked up a man with a heavy suitcase in the area on Saturday. He drove him for a short time before he helped him remove the suitcase from the boot of his car.

As part of the investigation, which involves around 50 officers, gardai have interviewed Rudo's flatmate, who lived with her at a flat in Leinster Road, Rathmines.

Yesterday, gardai interviewed her classmates at the Business and Computer Training Institute (BCT) at Parnell Square, Dublin, to try to build up a picture of the student's final days.

In recent months, she had signed up at a new college and was only weeks away from beginning a business degree course on February 13 at IBAT College on Wellington Quay, Dublin.

The flat on Aughrim Street sealed off by gardai investigating the murder is just a five-minute walk from where her body was dumped in a travel case on Saturday night.

Investigation

One local man who lives near the flat under investigation has told the Herald that most of the properties on the road are now split into flats and rented out.

Gardai have sealed off the property at number 15 Aughrim Street pending a forensic examination by members of the garda technical bureau.

The building is split into six separate flats that are all occupied by mostly members of the African community, according to locals. One man who lives next to the sealed-off flats said he didn't even know it had been an area of suspicion until he saw the two gardai on the steps this morning.

"I had no idea at all, it's a terrible thing," he said.

"I've seen people in and out of there, but it is always changing because it is rented out, but I haven't seen or heard anything suspicious to be honest," he added.

Ms Mawere's family in Malawi had been informed of her death by yesterday afternoon. An advertisement seeking an au pair job in Dublin was written by Ms Mawere in January last year. She described herself as Catholic and said religion was important to her.

She wrote that she taught at a Sunday school in Malawi and it was really fun having lots of kids and teaching them about God. Her listed hobbies included reading novels and swimming.

kfoy@herald.ie

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