Belfast Telegraph

Missing woman found murdered and her body stuffed into wardrobe

By Ken Foy

A 38-year-old woman who had been reported missing was murdered before her body was wrapped in a sleeping bag and stuffed in a wardrobe, police in the Republic believe.

The body of tragic Joanne Lee was discovered in a flat on Ranelagh Road in south Dublin at 3.45pm yesterday by gardai investigating her disappearance.

Her grief-stricken uncle John Curry last night said that her death has "torn the soul" out of the whole family.

A man who was well-known to Ms Lee is understood to have jumped from a third floor balcony of the flat after gardai attempted to gain entry.

He suffered a broken arm and leg injuries as investigators stormed the flat. His injuries are not life-threatening.

The suspect is understood to have made "certain admissions" to officers, and was being treated for his injuries at St Vincent's Hospital last night.

Ms Lee, who was originally from the Coolock area on Dublin's northside, had been recently living with her family in Co Meath.

The woman's family became extremely concerned for her welfare after they did not hear from her since Tuesday.

They contacted the Garda, who in turn issued a missing person's appeal on Wednesday.

Sources say gardai attempted to gain entry to the flat yesterday afternoon when her car was discovered on the road outside the property some hours after the appeal was issued.

However, despite repeated demands to be allowed enter the property, a male present in the flat refused to let officers in before he jumped from the window at almost the same time that police forced entry to the flat.

Ms Lee's tearful uncle spoke to reporters at the scene and said that her family feared the worst when his 38-year-old niece went missing.

Mr Curry said: "She was a lovely girl, a beautiful girl.

"She was never any trouble, nothing from her, she was just... aw God, I'm so upset, I can't speak.

"I'm just devastated, the whole family is, just taken apart, just torn the soul out of us.

"I just don't know what came out of this at all, why it happened.

"A couple of days (she was missing), we had a feeling something was up, but we couldn't put it together and we were searching everywhere.

"All I can say is why, why, why take a beautiful girl, so young, so pretty, away from us all? I'm just devastated," he added.

The Garda closed off the building on Ranelagh Road last night, as residents were moved into a nearby hotel for accommodation.

State pathologist Marie Cassidy arrived at around 7.30pm. A neighbour was visibly shaken having found out the news. The woman had been returning from the shop when the building was closed off.

She said: "I did get worried and I checked the missing persons list, I looked at her again, tried to make sure that I did not recognise this girl."

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