Belfast Telegraph

Man held over horrific axe murder of mother in Republic of Ireland

Elzbieta Piortrowska
Elzbieta Piortrowska
Gardai at the scene

By Ken Foy

A 32-year-old man remains in custody in the Republic today after his mother was murdered with an axe.

Elzbieta (Elizabeth) Piortrowska (57), a married mother-of-two originally from Poland, suffered horrific injuries after a violent assault.

It's believed she sustained heavy blood loss, and died at her home in the Clonmore Estate in Ardee, Co Louth, at approximately 11am.

A neighbour of Ms Piortrowska alerted gardai to the horrific scene after she arrived at the house, and discovered the inside of the property covered in blood.

Elzbieta was attacked with an axe in the hallway of her home.

It is understood an axe was recovered in the house where she was murdered and was being forensically examined by expert gardai last night.

Ms Piotrowska's son Tomasz Piotrowski (32) was arrested around 90 minutes after the murder in the centre of Ardee after gardai searched two separate properties in the town linked to the suspect.

Ms Piortrowska had been living with her husband in Ardee for the last seven years, and the couple were "highly respected" in the local community. An armed Garda manhunt was launched and the suspect was arrested outside a pub in the Bridge Street area of Ardee at around 1pm.

He was being questioned last night in Drogheda Garda Station. Gardai are not looking for anyone else in relation to the investigation.

A neighbour who was calling to Elzbieta made the shocking discovery in the hallway of the house in the Clonmore Estate just off the Dunleer Road at around 11am. She immediately raised the alarm and gardai were called.

Locals described hearing the woman who found the body screaming in the street.

"I heard a woman screaming and someone ran down to me, and told me there was a woman hurt. I called the gardai," one resident said.

Gardai began a manhunt in the town, and within a short space of time three other crime scenes were established.

One was at a house on Bridge Street in the town where Ms Piotrowski's son Tomasz was arrested by gardai as shocked locals looked on, not knowing of the events which had unfolded in the Clonmore Estate.

Gardai swooped on the house on the banks of the River Dee in several vehicles and arrested the 32-year old.

Searches were also carried out by gardai at a house in the Cherrybrook estate, around 2km from Clonmore, and at a site in the townland of Mandistown, Drumconrath around 8km from the scene of the crime.

At a press conference at Ardee Garda station yesterday evening Supt Des McTiernan told of how the events unfolded. "This morning at about 11 o'clock gardai responded to a call about a serious incident at the Clonmore estate in Ardee. When we got there we found a female very seriously injured who was later pronounced dead at the scene," he said. "That scene is preserved at this time. We have our technical bureau endeavouring to establish the facts as they happened. We have our State Pathologist on the way and we have all the structures and investigative enquiries that we need to be initiated done at this moment in time," he added.

"We have, so far, one person arrested. We are not looking for anybody else. There are a number of other people assisting with our investigation," he said.

He stressed that there was a definite line of enquiry.

"I'm happy that it is contained at this moment in time. I don't anticipate that it is going to go anywhere else. We have the person that we believe was involved in the incident arrested and detained at Drogheda Garda station," said Supt McTiernan.

The victim was described by locals as a nice, pleasant woman.

Elzbieta lived at the house with her husband. They are the parents of a son and daughter. The son lives in Ireland but the daughter lives in Poland where Elzbieta was from. In her last social media post on Facebook last Friday Elzbieta is seen posing snuggled up to her little dog.

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