THE Republic’s state pathologist is due to carry out a post mortem on a Belfast-born mum blasted to death by her ex-husband.
Patricia Kierans, who hailed from west Belfast, was shot dead at close range with a shotgun at her home in Co Cavan yesterday.
Sources said the victim was shot in the upper body in an upstairs bedroom by her estranged husband.
Garda detectives have launched a murder inquiry.
Her estranged husband Oliver, 56, was later at the centre of a dramatic ten-hour siege where he barricaded himself into Nixer’s ‘Square Bar’ for nine hours.
The siege prompted a large-scale garda operation involving armed members of the Emergency Response Unit.
The siege came to an end shortly after 3am this morning and Mr Kierans was arrested and whisked away in a car.
Tonight, Mr Kierans was taken to a local hospital for treatment and observation.
Sources in Cavan said Patricia Kierans was in fear for her life in the weeks before she died.
Such was that fear that she moved in with her sister for safety.
Patricia Kierans’ death has shocked the nation and left the community of Bailieborough “lost for words”.
She left her home in Drumbannon, and moved in with her sister Mairead.
It is understood that her sister raised the alarm when she could not contact Ms Kierans
She asked gardai to go to the family home where Mr Kierans still lived.
Locals said Patricia’s car was found parked at a little garage in the estate but there had been no sign of her.
Local priest Fr Oliver O’Reilly she had told him about living in fear of her husband.#
“She had confided in me quite a bit over the last year and she had expressed fear that her life was in danger,” said the curate.
“I had got her professional help.
“I feel personally devastated as well as the larger community with what has happened.”
Gardai say they are not looking for anyone else in relation to either the murder or the siege.
Mr Gibson was on Friday night still in Cavan General Hospital.
On Thursday, he walked into Nixer’s Square Bar, where he worked as a cleaner, armed with a shotgun and held up the pub.
When gardai – investigating the disappearance of Ms Kierans – approached the bar he threatened them with the gun.
Staff fled the scene and Mr Kierans, who was in a highly emotional state, locked himself in the basement.
A major garda operation was launched which involved members of the ERU and a specialist hostage negotiator.
Senior officers based in the garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park ordered a media blackout for several hours as intense negotiations with Mr Kierans took place.
A local garda is understood to have been integral in persuading the gunman to exit the pub.
The couple had four children – Oliver Jnr, Shane, Ger and Julie.
Ms Kierans said goodbye to her son Shane who left the country for Australia the day before she was shot dead. All her other children are currently living in Australia.
Oliver Kierans had his own taxi business up until around ten years ago and he also ran his own digger and plant hire business. He also worked in farming.
Locals said that he enjoyed a regular drink in local pubs and he did some casual work as a cleaner in Nixer’s market square bar where the siege took place.
A man who witnessed the dramatic end to the siege said that at around 4am, three or four heavily armed gardai entered the premises through the front door.
Those who knew the victim said she had moved from Belfast to live in Co Cavan many years ago.
She was highly respected in the local community and was described as a “quiet woman”.
The gardai were inside for less than five minutes when they emerged onto the street once more.
Mr Kierans was taken out the back door of the pub and put into a silver coloured garda car and was driven off at a fast speed, said the eye witness.
The Kierans’ family home at the Drumbannon estate on the outskirts of the town was sealed off with garda crime scene tape today.
Today, senior sources told the Herald that Mr Kierans, who is being held at Baileborough garda station, is known to gardai and is a heavy drinker.
He is also a well-known republican supporter.