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Monday 24 July 2017

Shocked neighbours leave tributes to little Omar

Riverside Apartments, Poddle Park, Kimmage. Scene where 3 year old was discovered with fatal stab wounds.
Riverside Apartments, Poddle Park, Kimmage. Scene where 3 year old was discovered with fatal stab wounds.

A shrine to little Omar Omran has been growing steadily outside the riverside apartment complex in Kimmage since news of his violent death emerged late on Monday evening.

The poignant messages are all the more so because they are from the hearts of people who had never met him but feel his loss nonetheless.

Teddy bears, soft toy animals, flowers, candles and balloons have all been left at the gates by local people whose hearts were broken by the news.

"Rest in peace poor child. Fly with the angels," read one message on a single flower.

Another read: "You got your wings too early."

Asked if they knew Omar or his mother, Maha, who is being treated in St James's Hospital, the people leaving flowers and toys admitted they didn't.

"It just seemed like the right thing to do. We only live up the road. We saw it on the news and couldn't believe it happened so close to us," said Greg Byrne and Reddy Thumma, who arr-ived early with a bouquet of flowers.

People driving past slowed down to bless themselves, while inside the complex a team from the Garda Technical Bureau were carrying out the grim task of photograph- ing the scene, taking measurements and gathering other pieces of forensic evidence.

Then the silver ambulance from the city morgue arrived and reversed up to the front door.

Stretcher

Gardai in their white forensic boiler suits and hoods carried Omar's body down to the ambulance on a stretcher, with a red cover draped over him.

The vehicle waited briefly for the gates to open. A little stuffed toy giraffe, pushed into the rails on the gate, carried a message printed on a page and pinned to it. "Why?" it read simply.

When the technical bureau and city morgue workers left, neighbours returning home looked on.

A passing glance would yield no sign of the desperate tragedy, but on closer inspection the silhouette of a tall garda sitting on a chair outside a first-floor apartment was a reminder that Omar would not be coming home.

In the car park, only a few feet from the door, his child seat was still strapped into his mother's navy blue 2003 registered Nissan Micra.

The riverside complex was built in 1999. With fewer than 20 apartments, there is a community feel about the neat and angled block, built on the banks of the River Poddle.

Residents said they always look out for each other, and one said Omar's mother is a caring woman, qualified as a doctor, who often offered help to her neighbours.

"I just can't believe it. I can't take it in. I don't know what happened," said one resident.

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