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Saturday 3 December 2016

'How do I tell my little girl (3) her daddy is dead?' - tragic fiancee of man killed in Kildare house

Noel Winterlich with Dearbhla Leahy and their daughter Amber
Noel Winterlich with Dearbhla Leahy and their daughter Amber

The fiancee of the man killed in an incident at a house in Celbridge has said she doesn’t know how to tell their three-year-old daughter that he is dead.

Noel Winterlich (37) suffered head injuries in a suspected attack in a house on Willowbrook Park in the town sometime between Monday and Tuesday night.

Gardai arrested a man in his 20s who lives in Celbridge. He was released without charge today and a file is being now be prepared for the information of the Director of Public Prosecutions

As well as trying to break the news to her three-year-old daughter, Winterlich’s fiancee Dearbhla Leahy said his killing also brings back memories from 12 years ago of getting the news that her brother Finbar had been murdered in Thailand.

Tragedy

Speaking at her home in Hazelhatch, Dearbhla broke down in tears as her daughter played in the kitchen at her feet, oblivious to the tragedy that has hit them.

“He was a great dad and partner, and loved his daughter Amber, and she in turn was mad about him,” she added.

READ MORE: 'People are being very judgmental but I learned a lot from Noel' - fiancée of attack victim speaks out

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet. I tried to tell Amber earlier that her daddy was gone to heaven but she doesn’t understand at all, so for the moment I’ve told her that daddy has had to go to work far away for a long time,” Dearbhla explained.

“Although he did have difficulties he fought those issues.

“Amber was his life and he adored her,” she said.

Winterlich had a number of previous convictions – including one in 2008 for biting a garda at Cork Street in Dublin.

The officer feared he could have caught HIV from him but was later cleared of any infection.

But Dearbhla said there is a lot of misunderstanding about HIV in Ireland and her partner had always tried to confront and deal with his own difficulties, especially with alcohol.

“I myself don’t have HIV, I have a healthy three-year-old who doesn’t have HIV either, and I just feel that people need to do more research on it,” she said.

“I went to nurses when I met Noel and they told me there was only a very, very slim chance I would catch HIV from him. He was able to live a normal life and had to take medication,” Dearbhla added.

Murdered

In November 2002, Dearbhla and her family received the awful news that her brother Finbar had been murdered while backpacking in Thailand.

Local police said the 24-year-old had his throat cut in a row over a Thai woman, but this was disputed by a friend of Finbar’s, who had been staying next door and said the row was over money.

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