An innocent young woman who was murdered along with her friend and two little children had just celebrated her coming of age, it emerged last night.
Alicia Brough (20), from Rockchapel in Co Cork, was staying with her friend Sarah Hines on the night she was killed along with Sarah's two children, Reese (3) and five-month-old Amy.
Alicia would have turned 21 on Thursday, November 25.
She celebrated her coming of age in a local pub just two weeks ago with family members and close friends.
Her mother, Maria Dempsey last night posted an emotional message on her Facebook site.
"It is with great sadness that I have to say our beautiful-hearted, kind, considerate daughter has been taken away from our family and also Sarah, Reese and baby Amy. May you all rest in peace," she wrote.
The small north Cork village was in shock yesterday as news of the tragedy had begun to filter through. One man said locals were stunned to learn one of their neighbours was caught up in the horror unfolding in Newcastle West in Co Limerick, which is only a 40-minute drive away.
Locals said the family, which had originally moved to Co Cork from England, kept very much to themselves. Relatives looked after the younger members of the family while Alicia's parents travelled to Limerick University Hospital for the unenviable job of identifying their daughter's body.
Alicia's younger brothers and sisters attend a local primary school in Knocknaclarig, a couple of miles outside Rockchapel.
"She was a very nice girl and very friendly. She was the oldest in the family. It's just a huge shock. It's terrible," one man said.
A stream of visitors called to the Dempsey family home yesterday to offer their support.
Only five years ago, Alicia's parents faced the prospect of losing another child. Her younger brother Joe (15) suffered a brain tumour but is now understood to be doing well.