Sex offender suspect in murder of Rose being hunted in 8 countries
Gardai have extended their search for the sex offender suspected of murdering Limerick woman Rosie Hanrahan (78) to eight European countries.
Interpol is helping detectives trace the east European, who fled the city soon after the pensioner's death on December 15.
Gardai believe Mrs Hanrahan, who had been tied up and strangled, was killed during a bungled burglary.
The suspected killer left Ireland by ferry and arrived in France on December 17 or 18, when he promptly went into hiding.
Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are among the countries gardai are focusing on.
It is believed the suspect is using a false identity in some of Europe's major cities and receiving support from friends, family and fellow criminals.
He is understood to have strong connections to Albania, Hungary and Romania.
It was initially thought he would avoid these countries, given that he is well-known there.
However, local police are now checking all areas where he has lived and where he has associates.
Forensic evidence has linked the man to Mrs Hanrahan's ransacked cottage in Thomondgate.
Several thousand hours of CCTV security camera footage has also been studied and nearly 2,000 people have been interviewed.
In a unique development, members of Limerick's criminal underworld have helped gardai with their enquiries, such is the revulsion at the murder of the frail pensioner, whose body was found by relatives.
Gardai want to obtain a DNA sample from the suspected killer which will be checked against forensic samples obtained from Mrs Hanrahan's home.
The suspect is not on the system because he has never been convicted of a major crime in Ireland. He is considered violent and dangerous by police forces in eastern Europe.
It is understood Mrs Hanrahan had a large sum of cash in the house to tide her over the Christmas period. She had hidden the money, believed to be a four-figure sum, in her kitchen.
It is suspected she may have been under surveillance or the burglar somehow obtained information that she had money in the house.
CCTV footage indicates that Mrs Hanrahan may have been stalked and followed to her home.
Gardai are also considering the theory that the killer may have targeted her handbag for cash and credit cards.
Limerick Mayor Sean Lynch, a former garda, said he remains convinced the killer will be apprehended.
"With DNA profiling, there's no way out for these people - they will eventually be caught," he said.