June 15, 2013. The day Evil visited an ordinary housing estate, on a normal Saturday afternoon, in a peaceful Irish town.
The thought of a young mother and her eight-year-old daughter being stabbed to death in their home in what appeared to be a frenzied, crazed attack drove fear into the populace in Killorglin, Co Kerry.
Even by the standards of today’s increasingly violent society, it was a savage double murder that horrified not only local people but the entire country. Jolanta Lubiene, 27, received 61 stab wounds, while her daughter, Enrika, sustained 11 stab wounds. Seasoned gardai whose job it was to go into the house, No 9 Langford Downs, Killorglin, were visibly shaken by the spectre of a large amount of blood on the kitchen floor, stairwell and upstairs landing.
Given the scale of the injuries, the attacks must have lasted for minutes. Wounds were inflicted on most parts of their bodies, except their faces, but there was no sign of sexual assault. Nobody was seen entering or leaving the house and nobody heard screams, though a neighbour told of hearing noise as if caused by someone going up the stairs.
Ms Lubiene was last seen walking towards her home just before 2pm, on Saturday June 15, and her last recorded use of her mobile phone was around that time. Enrika was last seen cycling around Langford Downs earlier in the day. The murders are believed to have been committed between 2pm and 5pm that afternoon, but the bodies were not found until 8.30 the following evening.
Ms Lubiene’s husband, Marius Lubys, who was working in Sweden at the time, told the month-long trial — which finished yesterday with the conviction of Lithuanian forestry worker Aurimas Andruska, 28, of both murders — last spoke to her on Skype on the night of Friday, June 14. When he texted her at 7pm the following day, he got no reply. He phoned Enrika and received no reply from her.
A full-scale murder investigation soon got under way after the gruesome discovery, with Garda experts forensically examining the scene. Ms Lubiene’s mobile phone and internet usage were checked early on and it soon became clear that she had contact with many men — up to 60 were to give DNA samples — and posted her photograph on adult websites seeking male company under the name Snow White. She worked on the catering staff of St Joseph’s Nursing Home, Killorglin, but was planning to return to Lithuania to care of her ill father.
Andruska, of Ardmoniel Heights, Killorglin, who had come to Ireland the previous February, was arrested on June 22, 2013, and charged with the double murder on June 28. He had a conviction for heroin storage in Lithuania and was, according to gardai, a heroin user.
He visited Ms Lubiene’s home in the days prior to murders and admitted having sexual contact with her. However, the prosecution case focussed on what he was doing on the Saturday afternoon of June 15.
The jury was shown CCTV footage of his movements that day during which he delivered a van to Killarney with two friends that morning. There was no record of his movements between 1.36pm and 5.50pm, when he was again seen in the company of another friend. He attended a birthday party in the home of a friend later that evening. Audrias Grigiliunas, a housemate and friend who was with him that Saturday, gave alibi evidence for the defence. He said he and the accused were at home in Ardmoniel Heights between 2pm and 4pm and said the accused had not been out of his sight for more than three minutes.
However, prosecuting counsel Isobel Kennedy accused Mr Grigiliunas of telling lies and pointed to a previous statement by him which detailed his activities on June 15, but made no mention of Mr Andrukas. When Ms Kennedy suggested he was lying, Mr Grigiliunas denied it, saying he was drunk and shocked when he made the statement, was mixed up and “would have signed anything’’ for the gardai.
The defence opted not to call Mr Andruska to give his evidence, as is his right. However, Brendan Grehan, defending, told the jury the accused was adamant he was not in the house at the time of the murders and did not commit the murders.
The prosecution relied heavily on, arguably, its most tangible piece of evidence: A fingerprint of the accused on Ms Lubiene’s blood on the stairwell of her home. The prosecution also pointed to evidence that could be described as more circumstantial, such as footprints in blood matching the type of shoes the accused was wearing at the time, the discarding of his shoes on the evening of June 15, and the finding of his DNA on a top worn by Enrika.
The jury unanimously returned a guilty verdict on both charges after just under three hours deliberation, with members of the bereaved family embracing each other and bursting into tears in an emotion-charged courtroom in Tralee.
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