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Friday 24 February 2017

Woman (29) quizzed in Reece stab murder case

Gardai examine the scene in Tallaght where 16-year-old Reece Cullen (left) was killed last week
Gardai examine the scene in Tallaght where 16-year-old Reece Cullen (left) was killed last week
Reece Cullen

A 29-year-old woman has been arrested and questioned by gardai investigating the shocking stab murder of 16-year-old Reece Cullen.

The Tallaght woman was arrested on Sunday morning in the Bawnlea area and questioned until 9pm before being released without charge.

Sources have revealed that she was picked up after gardai carried out analysis of mobile phones linked to the case.

She is not a suspect for the fatal stabbing and is not believed to have been present when Reece was attacked. Instead, she was questioned about withholding information about the murder.

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"Her arrest was all about gardai attempting to get a full picture of what actually happened on Thursday afternoon of last week," a source said last night.

"It is expected that there will be further arrests in this case."

The woman's arrest was the second in the case.

A 14-year-old male chief suspect was questioned all day last Friday about Reece's murder after he presented at Tallaght Garda Station with his mother.

Detectives also wish to speak to at least one other teenager they believe was present when Reece was set upon at a house in Kilclare Crescent, Tallaght, at about 3pm last Thursday.

A post-mortem examination determined that Reece suffered one stab wound to the heart when he was attacked.

His funeral Mass will take place at the Church of St Martin de Porres, Old Bawn, Tallaght, at 10am tomorrow, with his burial taking place afterwards at Kilmashogue Cemetery in Rathfarnham.

Yesterday almost €1,500 had been donated on two individual GoFundMe pages, which have been set up to raise €2,000 for the murder victim's heartbroken family.

Reece was discovered by a female neighbour bleeding to death at the foot of a staircase.

He was rushed to Tallaght Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

It is not the first tragedy to strike the family after Reece's mother Ann Marie Cullen died tragically last September.

The innocent family had previously been intimidated by a notorious family in the area, who are linked to a violent drug dealer.

Sources stated that Ann Marie's home was attacked on several occasions in the months before her death but it is not known if this is in any way linked to last week's murder.

Gardai believe that the murder happened as part of a dispute between two groups of local teenagers, which involved a row that saw one of the groups threatening the other with a pellet gun on at least two occasions over the past month.

Reece's girlfriend Sophie (17) described how she was on the phone to him when the attack took place.

"He was stabbed and I just heard him screaming. Then the phone went off," Sophie told the Herald in an exclusive interview last week.

"He was just saying he was walking out the front door to come around. That's when he was struck.

"He said 'I'm on the way down to you baby', then I heard him screaming, saying 'My heart, my heart'.

"Then that was it," she said.

Enemy

Speaking from her home alongside her mum Julie, Sophie fought back tears as she bravely spoke about the love of her life.

She told how she had heard no argument on the other end of the phone and that Reece had been attacked unexpectedly.

Reece's friends called her soon after and told her to get to the hospital immediately.

"It was horrible, I'd never ever wish that feeling on my worst enemy," she said.

Her mother said she drove to the hospital, but doesn't even remember the journey.

"I can't even remember how I drove to the hospital. Then the lads just all came out with their heads shaking," Julie said.

The couple had been friends for most of their lives but began seeing each other more seriously about 18 months ago.

"He was such a loving, caring fella, he kept to himself. He was loved by everyone, nobody had a bad word to say about him," Sophie said before adding that he recently enrolled in a Youthreach programme.

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