Romanian who murdered Limerick pensioner “flitted in and out” of country 

The Romanian man who brutally murdered an elderly Limerick woman in her own home “flitted in and out” of the country to commit offences, a prosecuting senior counsel said.

Alexandru Iordache targeted 78-year-old Rosie Hanrahan in a supermarket in December 2017, following her to her home before breaking in and subjecting her to a horrifying ordeal.

The following week he left the country again, but was later tracked down through DNA he left behind. It was noted in court that lordache had no ties to the community.  “He flitted in and out to commit offences,” Senior Counsel Ms Ann Marie Lawlor said.

Gardai told the court that Iordache had 29 previous convictions, including eight from Ireland.

Mrs Hanrahan, who lived on her own after her husband had passed away, was described by her family as a “fairy godmother”.  They called to see her almost daily and said that they were “tormented” at how their elderly relative had died.

Footage from Tesco in Coonagh in Limerick on 13th December 2017 showed a person looking over Mrs Hanrahan’s shoulder as she put in her pin while using her bank card to pay for groceries.

The Gardai found additional CCTV which showed the same person then followed her home. The car the person used was seen in the vicinity of Mrs Hanrahan’s home again on the 14th, where it didn’t leave until after 11am on 15th December.

Although Mrs Hanrahan’s home was very secure, a rear window was broken to gain entry. Lordache’s blood was found on the window frame and on the ligature used to kill her, and while he at first denied he murder later confessed before the case came to court.

DNA was extracted from lordache’s blood and sent to a number of countries by investigating gardai who engaged with French, UK, Swiss and Romanian authorities. This led to Iordache being identified as the source of the DNA.

The court also heard that Gardai learned the Romanan national had travelled to Ireland on 12th December and was here until the 21st.  He is suspected of other opportunistic thefts of elderly people during that time, including another on 14th December also in Tesco, Coonagh.

He received the mandatory life sentence at the Central Criminal Court on Monday for murdering the woman, described by her family as being like a “fairy godmother.”

Detective Garda Enda Haugh told the court that Mrs Hanrahan was “well-known, well loved, and had a huge amount of connections with the community”.

“She was described by her neighbours as a lady you could rely on,” he said.

The detective said that Mrs Hanrahan had been found dead by her sister and sister’s family. “She couldn’t get access and, when she got access, she could see she was tied up and deceased,” he said. The house had been ransacked.

“A curtain cord had been tightly applied around her neck,” explained the detective. Mrs Hanrahan received blows to her head and face and died of ligature strangulation.

Injuries to her fingers indicated that she had tried to release herself from the ligature, he told the court.

Mrs Hanrahan’s niece, Avril Kenny, read a victim impact statement on behalf of her family.  She said her aunt was known as being a most compassionate person.

“She was described as being like a fairy godmother,” she said. “She went out of her way to make people happy.” Ms Kenny said that her aunt loved children and was generous to them in everyway.

“She always saw something special in people and encouraged us,” she said of Mrs Hanrahan’s extended family. “She was always a positive influence on us all. We loved her like a second mother,” she said.

Her aunt enjoyed the simple things and was religious, going to Mass every Saturday evening, Ms Kenny said. She loved her home, pottering around her garden, going to the shops and listening to classical music.

Ms Kenny described the deceased as her “mother’s best friend.”

“To see the effect of Rosie’s loss on my Mum has been heart-breaking,” she said. “It has extinguished a light in her.”

“We are all left tormented with questions. It has changed who we are,” she said. “The senseless murder instilled a sense of fear across the community among the elderly.”

Ms Kenny said that the thought of how scared Mrs Hanrahan must have been continued to haunt the family.

Justice Michael White said that it was the duty of the court to impose the mandatory life sentence.

“This was a horrific and needless crime perpetrated on a vulnerable and kind lady, who lived a very rich life,” he said. “She was ruthlessly targeted and shown no mercy.”

 

 

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