“Everybody loved her, she was the mother of everyone on our street” — neighbours remember Limerick widow after Romanian man pleads guilty to her murder

Story David Raleigh. The late Rosie Hanrahan, New road, Thomondgate, Limerick strangled to death by Alexandru Iordache . Photograph Liam Burke Press 22

NEIGHBOURS and friends of Rose Hanrahan praised Gardaí and prayed for her soul today after her killer pleaded guilty to her murder today.

Ms Hanrahan (78) from New Road Thomondgate, was found dead in her bungalow by a relative a few days before Christmas Eve, 2017.

At the time the much-loved pensioner’s killing sparked fear amongst her neighbours of further attacks in the community.

Neighbour and friend, John Costelloe, praised Gardaí for their “excellent work” in apprehending Romanian national Alexandru Iordache (46) and taking the killer off the streets.

“I met Rose on a daily basis, and I welcome the fact that this man has admitted this dastardly crime, and I hope they throw away the key, that’s my opinion,” said Mr Costelloe, a local Sinn Fein councillor.

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“We are praying for Rose’s family and for her. Both the family and the community will be relieved to see this has come to a conclusion, and a life sentence is what that man deserves.”

Ioradache, with an address at Dreptatii Street, Bucharest, was initially detected by Sussex Police in the UK in December 2019 after gardai liaising with police in Europe tracked him abroad.

The breakthrough in the case came after Iordache was identified through facial recognition technology in Europe after he fled Ireland on a ferry bound for France.

A mammoth investigation led by Superintendent Derek Smart, included a file containing 1,300 witness statements, forensic evidence at Ms Hanrahan’s home, and hundreds of hours of trawling through CCTV security camera footage in Limerick, as a well as at ports, bus and rail stations, and airports.

Iordache was eventually extradited to Ireland on January 16, 2020, when Limerick gardai arrested him at Dublin Airport and charged him with Ms Hanrahan’s murder, to which he made no reply, it was heard before Limerick District Court.

Speaking following her sister’s murder, an emotional Helen Carmody wept and said: “She never did anything to anybody, everybody liked Rosie. She loved the gardening and she went to bingo.”

A candle lit prayer service, organised by friends and neighbours, has been held outside the victim’s home every Christmas to mark her passing.

Ms Hanrahan lived alone for a few years following the death of her husband Mick, and she was making plans to cook Christmas dinner for family members at her home.

Today, Gardai declined to officially comment, however a garda source said: “We’re thrilled with it, it’s a brilliant result, and I’m delighted for the family and the garda team, and everybody involved in the investigation.”

Local Sinn Fein councillor, John Costelloe said Ms Hanrahan was known as a “fairy godmother” character to all the children of families living on her street.

“She was a very pleasant lady and she was the mother of everyone on our street, her door was always open, and she always had sweets for the local kids, everybody loved her.”

“It’s very sad for everyone, but it’s a welcome development that the perpetrator is in jail now. I think it’s a fantastic result for the gardai and I compliment them on their work on this, I’m a bit emotional now because she was a wonderful woman.”

Mr Costelloe said the Thomondgate community would continue to hold its Christmas candle lit remembrance ceremony for Rose on the street outside her home.

Iordache’s sentencing was fixed for July 5th, when he will be give the mandatory life sentence for murder.