Police in Laois have confirmed the body discovered on Thursday, was that of pregnant missing woman Aoife Phelan.

The remains of the 30-year-old nanny were uncovered during a planned search of an area on the Timahoe Road outside Portlaoise in Co Laois, understood to be the suspects home.

Sources say the woman, who was four months pregnant, was beaten to death and put in a barrel and buried, reports the Irish Times.

A post mortem examination conducted by the State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, confirmed that the victim died as a result of an assault.

On Wednesday night a 24-year-old man, was re-arrested and remains in custody. The suspect was originally arrested on Monday, before he was later released without charge. The lorry driver is believed to have had a brief relationship with the murdered woman.

The victim had recently told her family she was four months pregnant. She had been working as a live-in nanny for a married couple. She was last seen when she visited a friend in Colliers View in Portlaoise on October 25th. The alarm was raised when she did not show up for work the next morning.

A steady stream of mourners arrived at the family home in Ballyroan home to offer their sympathies to parents at Michael and Betty Phelan’s on Thursday.

Floral tributes have been placed at the on the Timahoe Road across from the site where her body was recovered.