herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Irish grandmother died from severe head injuries in her Dutch home

Crime

Police at the scene of where the body of an Irishwoman was found
Police at the scene of where the body of an Irishwoman was found

AN IRISH grandmother and mother of eight died from severe head injuries at her Dutch home.

The woman's husband, named locally as Arnold 'Arno' Viguurs, yesterday appeared before a court in the southern Dutch city of s'Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) over the death of Martina O'Brien-Viguurs (64) last Monday.

Mr Viguurs, who is in his 60s, appeared before a Rights Commissioner who, in a brief hearing held in private, decided police had sufficient grounds for holding him in custody.

The Dutch national, a retired real estate vendor, will now appear again before a Den Bosch judge within the next 14 days. Under Dutch law, a decision will then be taken about whether charges are brought.

Dutch sources indicated that the 64-year-old Irish woman died from severe head injuries and police are investigating whether the injuries may have been inflicted by a heavy, blunt object. Dutch police confirmed they are treating the death as suspicious.

Mrs O'Brien-Viguurs, a native of Limerick but who had lived in Cork, had been resident in the Netherlands for the past five years.

Mr Viguurs was detained by police last Monday after they were called to a property at Savornin Lohman Street in Den Bosch, an affluent city in the southern Dutch province of Brabant.

His wife was discovered at the property and was pronounced dead a short time later by paramedics. A full post mortem examination was ordered by Dutch police inspectors and the property was cordoned off for a forensic investigation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is now liaising with the woman's Irish-based family who were deeply shocked to be informed of her death on Monday evening. Arrangements are already underway to return her remains to Cork.

Mrs O'Brien-Viguurs is survived by her six daughters and two sons. She also has 11 grandchildren.

She had no children by Mr Viguurs who was her second husband.

A native of Rathkeale, Co Limerick, the 64-year-old had spent years living in Douglas, Cork before moving to the Netherlands.

She had lived with her husband at Savornin Lohman Street where neighbours described them as a friendly couple.

They said Mrs O'Brien-Viguurs was rarely seen though her husband was always out walking his dog.

Neighbours also said the property had been sold for €225,000 with the couple intending to return to live in retirement in Ireland next year.

Members of her family travelled from Cork to the Netherlands last Tuesday when informed by police of the tragedy.

They will now escort their mother's remains back to Ireland for her funeral arrangements.

Mrs O'Brien-Viguurs will repose at her daughter's residence at Melbourne Close, Donnybrook, Douglas today (Friday) before being removed to St Mary's Church in Rathkeale for Requiem Mass at 1pm tomorrow.

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