Ireland
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Woman killed in Offaly named as teenager arrested over her death

A teenage boy has been arrested after allegedly killing a woman in a violent incident and live-streaming the aftermath of the fatal assault on social media.

The 16-year-old youth allegedly killed the woman, who is aged in her 40s, with a blunt instrument at a property about 12km outside of Tullamore, Co Offaly, earlier on Friday. The victim was named locally on Friday night as Lorna Woodnutt.

Distressing footage of the incident, showing the victim and her injuries as well as a weapon apparently used, was quickly shared online afterwards. Gardaí have appealed to people not to distribute the video.

Gardaí were also liaising with social media companies on Friday to have the video removed online. Several major platforms were taking steps to remove uploads of the video as they appeared.

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The youth is known to have had behavioural issues and previously displayed challenging behaviour.

Gardaí have not officially declared their inquiries a murder investigation but it is being treated as one in terms of resources.

In a statement, An Garda Síochána said that, at about 1pm, gardaí and emergency services responded to reports of a violent incident at a residential property near Tullamore. The body of a woman, aged in her 40s, was discovered there.

The teenager was arrested at the scene and is currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, at a Garda station in the midlands.

As a minor, he must be interviewed only in the presence of a guardian or other responsible adult. He can be questioned for up to 24 hours excluding rest periods.

Gardaí said the boy was known to the woman and investigating gardaí were not looking for any other people in connection with this incident.

The scene was being preserved on Friday evening pending forensic and technical examination by the Garda Technical Bureau.

The Coroner and the Office of the State Pathologist have been informed and the pathologist visited the scene on Friday evening.

A hearse carrying the remains of the woman left the scene at 7pm with a Garda escort.

The dwelling is in an isolated location at the end of a long laneway and behind a neighbouring house.

Locals declined to comment saying that the issue was “too sensitive” at the present time.

A senior investigating officer has been appointed and an incident room has been established at Tullamore Garda station.

“An Garda Síochána is aware that images from this incident are circulating on social media and messaging apps and An Garda Síochána is appealing to any person who receives these images not to share the content,” a Garda statement read.

It is understood a local school has also contacted parents to alert them of the footage in circulation and to advise them to monitor their children’s social media usage.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has offered his condolences to the family and community affected by the incident.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Mr Varadkar said: “I’ve heard the news of the really terrible events that happened, where a woman was killed and our condolences go to everyone affected and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the community.

“It does appear that in this instance the social media companies acted very quickly to take down any images in any video and obviously I’d say to anyone not to share it.”

Fine Gael councillor in Tullamore Neil Feighery said the community would “rally around” the impacted families in the wake of the tragedy.

“We are, as a community, in absolute shock. We are still coming to terms with the news and we’re waiting to hear from An Garda Síochána but the reports are truly shocking.”

He said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of those impacted by this “terrible tragedy”.

“It’s something that is really hard to comprehend and please God, the families will get the support and grace and blessings that they need at this horrendous time,” he said.

“Everything that can be done by the Tullamore community will be done in the coming days and weeks.” - Additional reporting: PA