GARDAÍ investigating an alleged fatal assault of a County Limerick music teacher last year arrested a man earlier today as part of their ongoing enquiries.
Louise Muckell was found seriously injured in her home in Cois Deel, Rathkeale on July 19, 2022 and died in University Hospital Limerick a day later.
The 54-year-old was regarded as a talented music teacher who taught at the former Sisters of Mercy secondary school in Rathkeale, and had been trained by the renowned Irish soprano Veronica Dunne.
Gardaí have been working on a theory that Ms Muckell was the victim of a serous assault at a property in Limerick City in the hours or days before her death.
In a statement issued this evening, a Garda spokesman confirmed that a man in his early 50s was arrested “in connection with the fatal assault of a woman at a residence in Rathkeale, on Tuesday,July 19, 2022”.
The man was taken to Henry Street Garda Station, where he is being detained under the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 which allows Gardaí to hold him for questioning for up to 24 hours.
The spokesman said that investigations are ongoing.
It is the first arrest in the case and the first official confirmation by Gardaí that they have stepped up their investigation from a “death in unexplained circumstances” to one of “fatal assault”.
Last year, investigating officers had identified a chief suspect but were awaiting the results of analysis of forensic evidence and toxicology tests.
The results of an autopsy conducted by State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, were not disclosed “for operational reasons”.
Gardaí suspected Ms Muckell may have been driven from her home in Rathkeale to and from a property on Windmill Street in Limerick City on the day she was found with serious injuries.
In a statement issued last July, Gardaí confirmed they had “attended an incident in the Windmill Street area of Limerick City on the evening of Tuesday, July 19. Enquiries to date suggest that the deceased may have frequented a residence on Windmill Street in the day or days prior to her discovery with serious injuries on July 19, 2022”.
They had appealed “in particular” to speak to any persons “who were in the Windmill Street area of Limerick City or the Cois Deel area of Rathkeale between Sunday, July 17, 2022, and Tuesday, July 19, 2022, who observed any activity which drew their attention”.
Appeals were also made for “camera footage of either area between these dates”.