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Michaela knew the suspect

Michaela Davis knew her murder suspect and spent time in his home.

Chubby teenager Jonathan Byrne (18) was charged with the 12-year-old schoolgirl's murder.

It emerged today that the Dublin shop worker knew the bubbly student, who had just started secondary school last week.

Their parents didn't know each other, but Jonathan and Michaela did and she spent time in his home, less than a 15-minute walk away.

Michaela's parents said they have had every "worst fear" realised as they prepare to bring their daughter's body home today.

Brendan and Deirdre Davis described her death as a "needless loss".

Michaela's body will repose at the family home in The Village, Porterstown, before her funeral at 12 noon on Thursday in St Mochta's Church.

She will be buried in the Clonsilla Churchyard immediately after the Mass. The statement issued by the Davis family described Michaela as “full of life” and very close to her mother Deirdre, father Brendan and brother Brendan (16)

“They were always there for one another,” the statement read. “This situation is not and never will be about the crime or the perpetrator — it's about Michaela and the realisation of a parent's worst fear to lose a child so full of life.

“Michaela had started her first day of secondary school on Thursday last. She was given her first homework which was due to be handed in tomorrow, never to be answered.

“All Michaela's friends are heartbroken at the moment and cannot get their heads around this tragedy, no more than the rest of the extended family and friends,” the statement, which was given by a relative of the Davis family, added.

“This is a heart-wrenching situation,” it said, “the needless loss of a young child, the awful tragedy of a girl barely beginning life.”

Dublin man Jonathan Byrne (18) appeared in court yesterday morning charged with Michaela's murder in the early hours of Saturday morning.

He remained completely silent during the two-minute long proceeding. Mr Byrne wore a grey hoodie with ‘CS55' on the front, white runners and blue jeans during the hearing.

Byrne from Lohunda Downs, Clonsilla, west Dublin, was remanded in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court in West Dublin on Friday morning.

The principal of Michaela’s school said she was a “lovely child who had so much to give and to live for”.

Terry Allen, head of St Mochta's National School, said the thoughts and prayers of the whole school community were with Michaela's family at this “very sad and upsetting time”.

Michaela had attended her first day of secondary school at Luttrellstown Community College last Thursday. A short service for her was held there at lunchtime yesterday.

Gardai are continuing to appeal for witnesses to come forward with any information they may have about the tragic death of Michaela.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Blanchardstown gardai on 01-6667032, or call the Garda Confidential Telephone Line on 1800 666111.