A man walked into a County Laois pub on Saturday night and told stunned staff and customers he had just killed his former girlfriend.

Mother-of-one Diane Burroughs was murdered in her rented apartment in the town of Mountrath early on Saturday evening.

Irish police have already stated that the 30-year-old Burroughs, who suffered frommental health problems, suffered a violent death.

They are questioning the man who witnesses told the Irish Independent entered The Fountain House pub shortly before 8pm and told a bar worker: “Call the guards, I’m after killing Diane.”

A post mortem is expected to confirm that the victim died from asphyxiation due to strangulation or suffocation.

A man in his 30s remains in police custody and officers have appealed to the public for any information regarding the case.

The Burroughs family, who live in the village of Castlemitchell near Athy in County Kildare, have spoken of their shock and horror at the murder.

One of 10 children, her brother Peter had died tragically at the age of 19.

“Peter died 16 years ago but daddy never got over it,” said Diane’s sister Anne.

“Daddy’s in a terrible state, it’s the second time for him to lose a child. He’s a family man, and to lose another child, it’s terrible.”

The murdered woman leaves a nine-year-old daughter. It is understood she had been in a recent relationship with the man now being questioned by police.

Locals spoke of their shock at the murder. Mark Wheeler, who lives in the same apartment complex, said: “She was a very forgiving woman.”

“She was vulnerable, she wasn’t well and it should never have happened,” he added.

Mountrath native Stephen Moore said: “She was a lovely girl who was very quiet.

“I never saw her in a pub, I only ever saw her at the bus stop. I have three daughters of my own, it’s a dreadful thing to happen.”