Village mourns loss of mother and daughter

Devastated parents and a distraught young father were foremost among the mourners who wept and watched as a mother and her daughter, murdered in Co Kerry, were laid to rest in a hillside grave outside the tiny Lithuanian village of Gedrimai yesterday.

As the bodies of 27-year-old Jolanta Lubiene and her eight-year-old girl, Enrika, were lowered into a double grave near the village where Jolanta grew up, the dead woman’s mother threw a handful of soil from the gravedigger’s spade onto the two white coffins. Ramute Santiene then cast a single white rose into the open grave.

Enrika’s father Marius Lubys, 29, heartbroken at losing his little girl, came next, throwing a soft toy into the void and another long-stemmed rose.

Jolanta’s father Rimantas Santa, ill but determined to be there, leant on his crutches and rested against a black headstone. He was helped to the graveside by his eldest daughter, Kristina, to shed more tears together with his four sons.

Earlier, during a concelebrated Mass, the parish priest Fr Juozas Siurys and his curate, Fr Yaidas Bumblauskas, spoke to the 130 or so mourners, remarking death was always sorrowful but especially when the departed were so young.

“We are like guests on this earth and no one can tell when or how God will call us. It does not matter when God decides to take us, his light will show us the path to real joy. Death opens the door to everlasting life,” said Fr Bumblauskas.

As the choir sang ‘Nearer My God To Thee,’ the coffins were shouldered from the tiny Church of the Sacred Heart and the funeral cortege left for the nearby cemetery.

Jolanta’s former teacher, a tiny white-haired lady in black, stood before the open grave and spoke of her former pupil and her little girl, saying the community would never forget them, and made a promise to visit the grave regularly.

Two of the gravediggers climbed into the plot to help lower the coffins, first the small coffin of Enrika, then that of her mother.

Jolanta’s sister Kristina, her husband, and children will return to Kerry in the next few weeks where they have put down roots — the only member of the family of six, all of whom worked in the Kingdom at some stage, to decide to stay.

A 26-year-old Lithuanian man, Aurimas Andruska — with an address at 7 Ardmoniel Heights in Killorglin — has been charged with the double murder in Kilorglin, Co Kerry, three weeks ago. A man in his 40s was questioned and released without charge, pending a file for the DPP. He was being held on suspicion of withholding information.

Autopsies found that both mother and daughter had suffered knife wounds.

The bodies were repatriated to Lithuania with funds raised by family and friends both in Ireland and Eastern Europe.


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