'Alex was out playing with his toys - now he's gone'
A trampoline, slide and a set of swings all stand still in the back garden of the house - a reminder of happier times.
On Monday evening, little Alex Velocci (3) had been enjoying the summer sunshine in the back garden of his family's home in Oola, Co Limerick.
Just like any other young child, he was immersed in a world of adventure and opportunities, unaware of what tomorrow would bring.
While the summer sun shone yesterday, a dark cloud hung over the village.
The tragic news that little Alex's mother, Jodie Power, was stabbed in an assault at her home shocked the community.
However, just a short while later it emerged that Alex and Ms Power's former partner Marco had tragically died after their car was involved in a collision with a truck.
A neighbour close to the family broke down in tears as they recalled Alex's beaming smile and joyous spirit.
The family friend recalled how little Alex was happily enjoying the last of the evening sunshine. Just like always, Alex bounced up and down on his trampoline, slid down his slide and played on his swings. Filled with energy, he was just starting out in life's great adventure.
"He was out the back playing with toys... it's terrible," said the family friend last night. "It's just horrific what has happened, he was just playing yesterday evening and now he is gone. He was playing with his toys and also visited his grandmother, who lives in the village."
Another neighbour was deeply upset by the news.
"There is going to be a lot of grieving in Oola this week and the coming months. We still cannot believe what has happened. I don't think we will ever really know," the neighbour said.
Locals offered their condolences to both the Velocci and Power families, who are left devastated by the incidents. Villagers described both families, who live just metres away from each other, as pleasant and well respected in the community.