herald

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Woman found dead in flat at Christmas 'was not attacked'

Deborah Holmes was found dead in her home on St Stephen’s Day
Deborah Holmes was found dead in her home on St Stephen’s Day

The death of a 42-year-old woman who was found with a head injury in a Rathmines flat is not being treated as suspicious.

Gardai yesterday ruled out foul play after receiving the results of a post-mortem on the body of Deborah Holmes.

The injury she suffered to the back of her head was consistent with a fall rather than an assault.

It is understood that Ms Holmes had suffered from severe underlying health issues, which may have been a factor in her death.

A garda investigation was launched after she was found dead in her home on Rathmines Avenue at 12.40pm on St Stephen's Day.

Argument

However, senior sources said Ms Holmes' death is no longer being treated as suspicious.

Detectives had been looking into an argument that Ms Holmes had with another woman, but she is not a suspect.

Ms Holmes was last seen alive at 12.30pm on Christmas Day and is believed to have died several hours later.

"Gardai do not believe that the cause of this woman's death is any criminal act," a senior source said last night.

"She had severe health difficulties, which certainly contributed to her death."

Gardai outside the flats in Rathmines where Ms Holmes lived
Gardai outside the flats in Rathmines where Ms Holmes lived

At the flats where she was found, two gardai stood outside the door of number 33 yesterday, preserving the scene.

The council complex, which is split into four blocks, is only metres from Rathmines Garda Station.

"I knew her to see, but we keep to ourselves in here and don't live in each other's pockets, so I don't know much about Debbie," said one resident, in a comment that was repeated by others in the flats.

"We would see her come and leave. She was here around two years."

While the results of the post-mortem were awaited, neighbours were anxious to find out how Ms Holmes had died.

There was no sign of a forced entry, and people did not want to believe that someone could have killed their neighbour.

"It's a sad loss regardless, to be found dead like that just after Christmas, but I hope she didn't have a violent death," said one resident.

Members of the local community expressed shock and sadness.

A woman living in the same building said it was "horrible" to hear that Ms Holmes was dead.

Letters

"It's very sad. She was a good neighbour to me," she said.

"She was very good when it came to getting my letters."

Ms Holmes came from an extended family who live in the Rathmines and Ranelagh area, but relatives did not wish to comment when approached yesterday afternoon.

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