A man is to appear in court charged with the murder of a 29-year-old mother who was found fatally injured at the bottom of her stairs last Sunday.
The man, in his 30s, was initially arrested last Sunday afternoon in connection with the death of Rita Apine, originally from Latvia but living in Freshford in Co Kilkenny since late last year.
He was released without charge on Monday night but re-arrested on Friday and questioned at Kilkenny garda station throughout Friday evening and Saturday.
He will appear before a special sitting of the district court in Kilkenny at 11am on Sunday morning on a murder charge.
The mother of one young daughter had previously lived in rented accommodation in Kilkenny city and moved to Freshford late last year.
Her death caused shock among her friends and also in the north Kilkenny village, where many local people spoke of often seeing her walking with her daughter.
Ms Apine was found with serious head injuries at the bottom of the stairs in her rented house on Bridge Street, Freshford, at about midday last Sunday. She was treated on the footpath outside by paramedics after the emergency services were alerted, but died later in St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny.
A post-mortem was carried out by deputy state pathologist Linda Mulligan at University Hospital Waterford on Monday and a forensic examination of the scene was performed by members of the Garda Technical Bureau.
Local councillor Andrew McGuinness said last week that Ms Apine had come to him looking for help with housing last June, having just emerged from a relationship. She had been living at St Teresa’s Terrace in Kilkenny.
He recalled meeting Rita on the street in Kilkenny last month. “You deal with so many people every day and every week and you don’t always get thanks for it but every time she saw me she stopped me to say ‘thank you’. When she came into the office she was always full of energy and positivity and we were always happy to see her.”
Several friends posted tributes on the internet in memory of Ms Apine. “Her beautiful daughter lost her mother,” one said.
A Mass in memory of Rita Apine will be held on Sunday at 1pm in St Fiacre’s Church, Loughboy in Kilkenny city. Friends have set up a memorial fund to help pay for her funeral costs and a candlelit vigil took place last Thursday in Freshford.