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Post-mortem confirms fire victim "died in violent circumstances"

A murder inquiry is underway after a post-mortem shows Olivia Dunlea had been killed before a fire at her house.

File photo of the Pembroke Crescent estate where the fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning.
File photo of the Pembroke Crescent estate where the fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Image: Google Maps

A MURDER INVESTIGATION is underway in Co Cork after a post-mortem examination showed that a woman who was thought to have died in a house fire had actually “died in violent circumstances”.

The body of Olivia Dunlea, 36, was found in the house at Passage West after the emergency services were called in the early hours of Sunday morning.

It was thought that Dunlea had died as a result of the fire, with neighbours believing she was not in the house at the time because her car was absent and her children were staying with friends.

It has now emerged, however, that Dunlea had been killed before the fire began.

A post-mortem carried out at Cork University Hospital by the State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, has confirmed that Dunlea had died “in violent circumstances”.

An incident room has been set up at Togher Garda Station and a technical examination of the house in the Pembroke Crescent estate is ongoing.

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Gardaí have asked anyone who was in the area, and particularly in the vicinity of the housing estate, Passage West village, or the roads between the two between 12am and 2am on Sunday morning to contact them.

Gardaí in Togher can be contacted at (021) 4947127, or via the Garda Confidential line at 1800 666 111.

A man in his late 30s, who was arrested in connection with the fire this morning, remains in custody at Togher under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

Read: Man arrested over woman’s death in Cork house fire

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Gavan Reilly

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