Life was good for art student, Emer O’Loughlin. At age 23 years, she and her boyfriend, Shane Bowe, had just returned from a dream trip across the world over months that took them through Europe and into Asia during 2004. On their return to County Clare, Ireland, the young couple decided to save money for a house and a family life together.
Emer’s dad, Johnny, hauled a mobile home into a picturesque area called Ballybornagh, in the heart of the Burren, Clare. It was a plot of land owned by Emer’s boyfriend’s family. She wanted nothing more than to continue her studies in art and design. No sooner had she arrived back in Ireland in 2005, she received word that her application had been accepted to the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin. She was excited for the coming year.
But the life of two families changed on Friday, April 8th.
The couple had experienced some power supply issues to their mobile home that morning and, just before heading off to work, Shane suggested that Emer ask the adjacent neighbour if she could charge her phone in his mobile home until their power was restored.
Lest than two hours later, Shane would receive a disturbing call from a local friend, that there was a serious fire at the mobile home site. He returned to find the burnt out remnants and ashes of a mobile home. Emer couldn’t be found in their mobile. But the fire had actually engulfed the neighbour’s mobile. And the neighbour could also not be located. Within hours, around 5 pm, as the emergency services accompanied by Shane and Emer’s dad Johnny, sifted through the ashes, human remains were found. Their worst fears were realised.
But this was only the start of a bizarre series of events in the coming days and weeks, and an 18 year long hunt for a murderer.
This is the story of the murder of Emer O’Loughlin and the pursuit of a suspect across the UK, into continental Europe, and Morocco.