Belfast Telegraph

Man shocks pub customers by confessing to killing ex-lover

By Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Pub customers were left horrified after a man walked into a bar to confess that he had killed his ex-girlfriend moments earlier.

Mother-of-one Diane Burroughs (30) struggled before she was killed in her rented apartment above a butcher's shop in Mountrath town centre, Co Laois, on Saturday.

Ms Burroughs' devastated family last night spoke of their grief at the sudden death of the mother of one.

A post mortem on Ms Burroughs' remains is expected to reveal that she died from asphyxiation due to strangulation or suffocation.

The Irish Independent understands the cause of death was not initially clear as the victim had other injuries to her body after she desperately tried to fight back against her attacker.

Witnesses last night des-cribed how a man entered The Fountain House pub shortly before 8pm and told a bar worker: "Call the guards, I'm after killing Diane."

After gardai arrived a man in his 30s was arrested. The suspect remained in custody last night.

Supt Philip Lyons, who is leading the inquiry, said he was appealing to the public to come forward with information if they had seen any suspicious activity in the Main Street area from 6pm onwards.

Ms Burroughs' family learned of her death early yesterday when a detective arrived at their home in Castlemitchell, near Athy, Co Kildare.

Clutching old photographs, her grief-stricken dad, John (61), said his daughter's brutal death was "terrible".

Ms Burroughs was one of 10 children originally from Kildare town. She was seen as vulnerable as she suffered from mental health difficulties. Her sister, Anne, said she tried to look out for her.

Her heartbroken sister wept as she described how the death was the second tragedy to affect her family.

Diane's brother, Peter, died tragically when he was just 19. "Peter died 16 years ago but daddy never got over it," she added.

"Daddy's in a terrible state, it's the second time for him to lose a child. He's a family man, and to lose another child, it's terrible."

Ms Burroughs had not lived at her family home in Castlemitchell for the past seven years. She had been living in Portlaoise before she moved to Mountrath. She had one nine-year-old daughter.

Anne Burroughs had to identify her sister's remains late yesterday evening. She said she had not yet been told how her sister died.

It's understood Ms Burroughs knew the suspect and had been involved in a relationship with him for a number of months but it had recently ended.

Garda forensics officers arrived at the scene of the killing just after 10.30am yesterday and examined the apartment above Declan Fitzpatrick's butcher shop.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis arrived at around midday and a preliminary post mortem was conducted before the remains were taken to Portlaoise General Hospital for a full examination.

Neighbours told how they would often see Ms Burroughs at the bus stop in Mountrath, waiting for the bus to Portlaoise.

Mark Wheeler, who lives in the same apartment complex above the butcher's, said the victim was a "very forgiving" woman.

"She was vulnerable, she wasn't well and it should never have happened," he added.

Shop workers who knew Ms Burroughs said they were "shocked" at her killing.

"When I heard the news, straight away I said: 'Please God don't let it be Diane'," said one woman who served the victim regularly.

Mountrath native Stephen Moore said Ms Burroughs was a "lovely girl" who was "very quiet".

"I never saw her in a pub, I only ever saw her at the bus stop. I have three daughters of my own, it's a dreadful thing to happen."

Belfast Telegraph


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