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Thursday 8 December 2016

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

Dearbhla Leahy with Noel Winterlich and daughter Amber
Dearbhla Leahy with Noel Winterlich and daughter Amber
Garda forensic officers remove the body of Noel Winterlich from the house in Celbridge, Co Kildare
Gardai at the scene on Willowbrook Park, Celbridge Co. Kildare where the body of a man was found last night. A man has been arrested in connection with the incident...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Gardai at the scene on Willowbrook Park, Celbridge Co. Kildare where the body of a man was found last night. A man has been arrested in connection with the incident...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Gardai at the scene on Willowbrook Park, Celbridge Co. Kildare where the body of a man was found last night. A man has been arrested in connection with the incident...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Gardai at the scene on Willowbrook Park, Celbridge Co. Kildare where the body of a man was found last night. A man has been arrested in connection with the incident...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Gardai at the scene on Willowbrook Park, Celbridge Co. Kildare where the body of a man was found last night. A man has been arrested in connection with the incident...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Deputy State Pathologists, Dr. Michael Curtis and Linda Mulligan at the scene on Willowbrook Park, Celbridge Co. Kildare where the body of a man was found last night

The fiancée of the man killed in an alleged attack in a house in Co Kildare has called for more understanding as it emerged that her partner had the HIV virus.

Noel Winterlich (37) suffered head injuries in an apparent attack in a house in Co Kildare earlier this week.

Dearbhla Leahy was engaged to Noel, who was discovered by gardai on Tuesday evening on Willowbrook Park in Celbridge.

Dearbhla has revealed that she is distraught at the tragedy that has befallen herself and their three-year-old daughter.

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

But she has also spoken out against the "judgemental" public after details of Noel's illness emerged in the media.

"Noel has his trouble and yes he did have HIV," the devastated mother told Newstalk's Pat Kenny radio show this morning. 

"People are very judgemental, very close-minded when it comes to that subject. I was like that before I met Noel but I have learned a lot from him.

"I don't have it and I have a beautiful and healthy young daughter."

Dearbhla has revealed how Noel had suffered from alcohol addiction and that he attended clinics to help himself.

However, she said that he was an amazing father to "real Daddy's girl" Amber. 

"She was very stuck on him, he was very stuck on her. She was the No 1 in his life," said Dearbhla.

"I don't think she understands. There's only so much you can explain to [a three-year-old] - I'm trying to keep up a normal life."

Dearbhla said that she was overwhelmed at people who have "offered their support and help" since learning of the tragic news.

"People have stopped me in the street and my phone hasn't stopped ringing... but it's very hard to put your hand out and ask for help.

"Noel and I relied on each other an awful lot," she said.

A post mortem was carried out on Noel's body yesterday afternoon to determine the cause and time of his death - but the results have not been released for "operational reasons".

Gardaí have appealed for witnesses or anyone who was in the area at the time to contact them at Leixlip Garda Station on 01 666 7800.

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