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BROTHER HELD AFTER BRENDA BEATEN TO DEATH WITH A POKER; Gardai believe family row 'got out of hand' in house.

Byline: EOIN REYNOLDS

A MAN was being questioned by gardai last night after his sister was beaten to death with a poker.

Mum-of-three Brenda Ahearne was found dead at her sister's home in Richardsons Meadows, Waterford City, at 2.30am yesterday.

The poker had been embedded in her skull during a ferocious attack.

Gardai on the scene said the 30-year-old had suffered horrific injuries and was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital. She was pronounced dead a short time later.

Her brother Anthony, 31, was arrested at the scene and was being held at Waterford Garda Station last night under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Gardai confirmed they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the attack.

And a source said they are keeping an open mind about what went on in the house before she was attacked.

He added: "We don't really know what the circumstances were leading up to her death but we are not looking for anyone else in our investigation.

"It appears a row broke out and things got out of hand." Brenda's children

aged seven, 12 and 13 were last night being cared for by relatives.

Originally from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, Brenda moved to the Woodlawn Grove Estate in Waterford this year.

When she was killed she was babysitting at her twin sister Lisa's home nearby in Richardsons Meadows.

Neighbours described the Ahearne family as nice people who had settled in well to the area since arriving.

One said: "They were very close and they'd take turns minding each others' children. It has always seemed very cosy and they are a very quiet bunch."

Local Fine Gael councillor John Cummins said the brutal death had stunned the area.

He added: "Everybody is talking about it, it is a huge blow to the

community.

"It is a tight-knit community for something like that to happen and everybody is certainly affected by it."

Members of the Garda Technical Unit examined the scene in the hunt for clues and forensic evidence.

The State Pathologist Marie Cassidy carried out a postmortem last night.

Gardai will await the results before deciding whether to upgrade to a murder inquiry.

CAPTION(S):

SCENE Gardai forensics at home in Waterford yesterday ATTACK Mum Brenda Ahearne was found dead
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Sep 17, 2009
Words:378
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