Brooklyn was seen smiling with man he knew before death
Eleven-year-old Brooklyn Colbert was seen smiling happily on the street with a man known to him a short time before gardai swarmed the area and found his body in a Limerick house.
The community of Ballynanty, in the shadow of Thom-ond Park, was reeling yesterday over the death of the schoolboy.
Neighbours told how Brooklyn, his mother Sonia Aylmer's only child, and the man were seen going into the house on Sunday afternoon.
They described both Brooklyn and the man as being "in good form".
However, as darkness fell, it became apparent something terrible had happened when patrol cars and armed gardai swarmed into a cul-de-sac off Shanabooly Road and word filtered through that a child was dead.
Gardai are trying to piece together the sequence of events that led to Brooklyn's death, but early indications are that the man seen with him either walked into Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick or contacted them by phone.
Brooklyn's body was found in the kitchen of the house.
The cul-de-sac remained sealed off yesterday morning as gardai began a forensic examination inside the house and searched local streets.
Assistant state pathologist Dr Margot Bolster arrived at the scene at noon.
At around 1.30pm, a dark estate car with blacked-out rear windows arrived, and Brooklyn's body was removed and placed in it on a covered stretcher.
A post-mortem was due to take place at University Hospital Limerick.
It is believed Brooklyn died from injuries consistent with a violent assault.
A man in his 20s who was arrested by gardai remained in custody last night.
He was described by locals as "a quiet man who does not drink or smoke".
A second scene, a house in Moyross less than a kilometre away, was also sealed off.
It is believed to be the arrested man's parental home.
Local people there described him as "quiet and introverted".
Brooklyn was a fifth class pupil at JFK Memorial primary school.
The principal said they were saddened by "the untimely death of our much cherished pupil".
"We will work to support our pupils and staff in coming to terms with this loss over the coming days and weeks," a school statement said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very sad time."
Brooklyn's father, Wayne Colbert, is known in Limerick as a talented League of Ireland footballer.
The Colbert and Aylmer families were trying to come to terms with Brooklyn's death and were being comforted by family, friends and neighbours.
"It's shocking and devastating. The lad was so young," said Sarah Griffin, whose home overlooks the crime scene.
"We didn't know anything until gardai started to arrive."
Another neighbour said the community is numbed by what happened.
"First there was a garda car, then armed gardai and then the word came out that a young boy was dead. We just can't believe it," she said.
Local councillor John Costelloe said the news was "the worst ever anyone could have".
"I'm lost for words. Our thoughts are with the family," he said.
"We'are trying to get our heads around the fact that we've lost a young boy in our community.
"There's an air of hopelessness."