Belfast Telegraph

Woman found stuffed in bag 'suffocated or strangled'

Tom Brady and Colm Kelpie

A woman whose body was found stuffed into a travel bag was either suffocated or strangled, a post mortem has found.

It is believed the victim was a 26-year-old student from Malawi in Africa but that she had been living in this country for two years, most recently in the Rathmines area of Dublin.

She had a bag over her head and it is believed she may have known her killer. The bag lay on a city street for more than 13 hours before being found.

The grim discovery on St David's Terrace, just yards from McKee Army Barracks on Blackhorse Avenue in Cabra, north Dublin was made at about 8.30am yesterday by a passerby.

After conducting house-to-house enquiries, officers believe the large bag, which has wheels, may have been lying on the quiet northside street since at least 7pm on Saturday.

Residents told investigating officers they had noticed the bag, which was lying against several bins, but had not opened it. But a passerby yesterday morning examined it and immediately alerted gardai.

Officers are likely to look at the possibility that whoever left the bag may have dumped it deliberately near bins in the hope it would be collected as rubbish.

The post-mortem examination was carried out at the city morgue in Marino last night by Deputy State Pathologist Michael Curtis.

St David's Terrace is a mix of established homes and rented, two-storey red-brick houses.

Gardai immediately sealed off the area after the discovery to allow forensic investigators to carry out a detailed examination of the scene.

The body remained in the bag and was removed from the scene at about 1pm.

Residents described the area as quiet and with a mix of nationalities, including Romanians and Africans living in the nearby North Circular Road.

Gardai removed CCTV footage from the Xtramart Convenience Store on the corner of St David's Terrace in a bid to piece together the events leading up to the bag being dumped. Cameras outside of the shop clearly show the path below and passing traffic.

Owner Safida Begum (42), of Pakistani descent, opened the shop five years ago and said she had not encountered any problems. It's a good area. The customers are very nice. I've never seen anything like this before," she said.

None of those who spoke to the Irish Independent yesterday had seen the bag, but they expressed shock at the discovery. Damien Carey (29) has been living in the area for six months and he branded the find shocking. "It's quite horrible. If you started to think about it, it's really sad," he said. "The worst thing around here is kids throwing snowballs with rocks."

Lauren Kelly (24), who has been living in nearby Marlborough Road for about a year, said there was no trouble in the area. "You'd have the kids up there at night-time and stuff, but it is quiet. This is just awful. God help who found the person," she said.

Gardai are appealing for anyone with information to contact Bridewell garda station or the Garda Confidential Line.

In 2001, Romanian Adrian Bestea was murdered and his body crammed into a suitcase and dumped in the Royal Canal after his girlfriend Marina Sourovtzeva hired three Russians to teach him "a lesson" for his violent attacks on her.

She was handed a two-year jail sentence in 2002.

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