Murder probe as woman fatally assaulted in home

Gardaí are hoping forensic tests will help identify the killer who fatally assaulted a mother-of-three at her Dundalk home.

The 34-year-old woman, named locally as Jacqueline McDonagh, was found in a downstairs room at her home on College Manor, Hoeys Lane, shortly after 3am yesterday. She had suffered serious head injuries.

When emergency services and gardaí arrived at the scene, the victim’s husband, Michael Quinn McDonagh, was on the street in an extremely distressed state.

Inside the house were the couple’s three children, the eldest being a girl aged 14.

Ms McDonagh was pronounced dead at the scene and gardaí sealed off the area and the family were removed. A forensic tent and a screen were placed outside the house.

The deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis carried out a preliminary postmortem and Mrs McDonagh’s body was removed at lunchtime to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for a full postmortem.

Specialist forensic officers carried out examinations inside and outside the house. Gardaí conducted house-to-house inquiries in the area to see if anyone saw or heard anything.

They initially were treating the death as suspicious, but upgraded it to a murder investigation following the full postmortem.

It is understood detectives are not treating seriously a report that a number of men had called to the house and attacked Mrs McDonagh.

It is understood the couple, both settled Travellers, moved into the estate over a year ago. Mr McDonagh is originally from the town, while Mrs McDonagh is from Navan.

After they married, they lived in Dunsink Lane, Finglas, north Dublin. It is believed they moved out as a result of a feud between Traveller families.

Mr McDonagh had previously been involved in bare knuckle boxing, traditionally used to settle disputes but criticised by established Traveller groups.

He and his brother James were featured in an award-winning documentary on bare-knuckle boxing, entitled Knuckle.

Neighbours said the family were quiet, friendly and kept to themselves.


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