Chief suspect in Ballinteer triple ‘strangulation’ murder is ‘under 24-hour surveillance by gardaí’
Man in his 30s has met police twice with a solicitor
A Garda replaces flowers blown over by wind at the scene at Llewellyn Court, Ballinteer, Dublin. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins
Ken Foy and Robin Schiller
October 30 2020 02:30 AM
The chief suspect for the suspected strangulation murder of two siblings and their mother is under “discreet” 24-hour garda surveillance as officers attempt to build a case against him. The suspect, aged in his mid 30s, has already had two “voluntary interactions” with gardaí in the presence of his solicitor with senior sources saying he has been “less than co-operative”. Gardaí have not obtained enough evidence to make an arrest in the shocking case yet. The man has now on two occasions by arrangement met detectives investigating the suspected homicides of Seema Banu (37) and her young children, six-year-old Faizan and his older sister Asfira (11). He met gardaí on Wednesday night and yesterday afternoon but nothing of “major evidential value” has been gleaned. “There are many strands to this investigation and, apart from definitively establishing the causes of deaths, there is a massive forensic examination still ongoing at the property in Ballinteer which has so far failed to yield enough evidence to make an arrest,” a senior source told the Irish Independent.
“There is also an issue in relation to good quality CCTV in the location and the fact that the suspect in the case has made no admissions. “All this means at the moment is that he is a free man but that does not mean he is not under constant watch until gardaí are in a position to proceed. “There is a fear he could try and leave the country,” the source added. India’s Ambassador to Ireland, Sandeep Kumar, visited the scene yesterday and placed flowers. It can also be revealed that Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) is involved in the case in which specialist scientists are examining three ligatures found at the scene at Llewellyn Court, Ballinteer, south Dublin, which are suspected of being used in the strangulation of the woman and children. Last night gardaí renewed their appeal for information in the case as officers continue to conduct door-to-door enquiries at Llewellyn Court. Gardaí continued to appeal for members of the public not to circulate comments about the case on social media platforms, describing such commentary as uninformed and unhelpful to the investigation. The Irish Independent has learned that a 36-year-old man, who detectives were interested in speaking to, met them by appointment with a solicitor yesterday afternoon. It came after a garda alert was issued for the man’s whereabouts. It described him as being possibly armed and that he should not be approached. Concerns have been raised about the man’s welfare. A source said: “Gardaí had been in contact with him through a legal representative and a meeting was facilitated yesterday. “The meeting took place at a location near the city centre,” the source added. Two detectives spent over an hour taking an account from the man before he was free to go as he was not formally under arrest. While this individual was not arrested, the statement he provided can be used at a later stage in the investigation if necessary. Detectives are continuing their inquiries following the shocking killings in the south Dublin estate. Shortly before midday on Wednesday members of the Armed Support Unit (ASU) were called in to gain access to the property and discovered Ms Banu and her two children. The body of Mrs Banu was discovered as she lay face upwards on a bed in an upstairs bedroom of her home at Llewellyn Court. The bodies of Fazan and Asfira were found in a separate bedroom. Senior sources say gardaí are working on the theory all three were strangled.