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Mum killed in front of son (2) before partner's cliff jump

A YOUNG mum was strangled by her partner after she told him to move out.

The former Dunnes Stores worker was murdered while their two-year-old son was in the house.

Soon after the horrific killing, the perpetrator threw himself from a cliff in Co Kerry and gardai were today still searching for his body.

Katarzyna Barowiak from Poland, was found dead in her home in Tralee after the emergency services were alerted.

Detectives believe Stephen Godsun from Benin in West Africa choked his partner, then left the couple's 2-year-old son alone with his mother's body for a number of hours.

The little boy, Sean, was found alone in the house unharmed when gardai arrived at the scene at 3pm. Paramedics found Ms Barowiak's body on a bed in an upstairs room after forcing their way into the property.

Today, searches continued for Mr Godsun who jumped from a cliff into the sea at Ballybunnion after six hours of negotiations with gardai at the scene.

Friends of the couple have described their shock at the incident. Nelson, who did not wish to be indentified further, said he had been very friendly with 'Catherine' and her boyfriend whom he knew as 'Snoop'.

"Catherine was a lovely woman, very friendly and I'm shocked," he said.

"I saw the ambulance passing the house yesterday and when I looked again I saw the police and I knew this was not good.

Nelson said he had socialised regularly with Ms Barowiak and her boyfriend and he and his partner had enjoyed days out to Banna Beach outside Tralee with the couple. He said Ms Barowiak was devoted to the son she had with Mr Godsun and they appeared to be a happy couple.However, of late he had noticed that he (Snoop) had become "distant" and hadn't returned any of his phone calls.

"I thought it was just me but then I discussed it with other friends who said the same thing," he said.

Ms Barowiak, who was in her mid-20s, had worked at Dunnes Stores in Tralee. Details of the shocking incident emerged after the emergency services were alerted by a call to the 999 line by Mr Godsun at 3pm.

Gardai were immediately alerted to the incident and officers from Tralee Garda station arrived on the scene.

The property was sealed off and the boy was taken by the HSE into State care. The house where Ms Barowiak's body was found was undergoing a forensic examination today.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster carried out a post-mortem today.

Garda believe there had been an altercation at the house before the woman was strangled. A search operation is now under way for her partner who is believed to have jumped from a cliff at Ballybunion, Co Kerry, shortly after 10pm.

Members of the Garda's armed response unit went to Ballybunion as efforts to negotiate with the man continued.

Search

This morning's search is being undertaken by the Shannon rescue helicopter and the Fenit lifeboat. Valentia Coastguard said a Coastguard helicopter was scheduled to conduct a low water search for the missing man. A Ballybunion Coastguard team was on standby to launch a boat pending the results of the airbourne search.

Mr Godsun is believed to have driven from Tralee to the cliffs at Ballybunion, where he abandoned his vehicle. The local community shared the shock and sadness with the extensive Polish community in the region.

Shocked neighbours of Ms Barowiak were coming to terms with the tragic events. Her next-door neighbour Shahadat Hossain, said he knew Ms Barowiak to see but didn't know her well.

"I was very shocked to hear what had happened," he said.

hnews@herald.ie