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Sunday 24 September 2017

Neighbours of 'vulnerable' Nicola had concerns before her murder

Tragic: Nicola Collins
Tragic: Nicola Collins

Friends and neighbours of murdered mother-of-three Nicola Collins have revealed they were deeply worried about her welfare in recent weeks.

One Cork neighbour described Ms Collins as "a bit vulnerable" and said people living near her on Clashduv Road in Togher were very concerned if they didn't see her at her flat for several days.

"You would be worried for her. People knew she had her own problems," said the neighbour.

"I suppose you could say that she might have been a bit vulnerable.

"Neighbours would tend to keep an eye out for her to make sure everything was OK."

Clashduv neighbours were also aware that Ms Collins was spending a lot of social time in Farranree on the other side of Cork city recently.

Locals described her as a friendly, quiet and private person. They were appalled at the news the 39-year-old had died from horrific head and neck injuries after being subjected to a sustained assault in the early hours of Monday.

The revelation came as a 42-year-old man arrested for questioning over Ms Collins' death was released without charge.

The man, who was known to the Kerry-born woman, was arrested at the scene on Popham's Road, Farranree, where Ms Collins' body was found.

He was arrested under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allowed for him to be detained for up to 24 hours.

His questioning could not begin until lunchtime on Monday for medical reasons.

Violent

The man, who is originally from Charleville in north Co Cork but has been resident in Cork city in recent years, was released without charge from Mayfield Garda Station yesterday morning. He is known to gardai.

A file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Gardai confirmed they are treating Ms Collins' death as murder after a post-mortem examination at Cork University Hospital (CUH) by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster confirmed she met a violent death.

While the post-mortem results are not being released for operational reasons, it emerged Ms Collins died from severe head and neck injuries.

Superintendent Michael Comyn again appealed for anyone who may have seen Ms Collins in the days before her death to come forward and help their investigation. "The man was arrested on Monday morning and questioned here up until [yesterday] morning," said Supt Comyn.

"We contacted the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the man has since been released. A file will be prepared now for the DPP.

"Through our investigations we have found out there was at least two people in the house at Popham's Road from probably Thursday.

"We are trying to piece together the movements of the people coming and going from the Popham's Road house from Thursday up until Monday morning," he added.

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