Thursday 8 December 2016

$500,000 fraudster and her partner died in ‘suicide pact’

David Raleigh

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

Julia Holmes and Thomas Ruttle died in the bedroom of their Limerick home
Julia Holmes and Thomas Ruttle died in the bedroom of their Limerick home

The decomposing bodies of a fraudster grandmother and her innocent partner were found by a group of Travellers, who discovered the two corpses while looking for scrap metal.

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The discovery of the bodies of Julia Holmes (63) and Thomas Ruttle (53) was outlined at their inquest yesterday.

A pathological report into the couple’s deaths could not confirm how they died, however Coroner Antoinette Simon said she accepted all of the evidence pointed to a “suicide pact”.

Holmes, from Tyrone, was wanted by the FBI and the PSNI for a series of property frauds. She had served time in jail in Texas for a $500,000 fraud.

Holmes, who was married to two other men when she tried to marry Mr Ruttle, had falsely claimed she had cancer. She ran up debts of €70,000 with builders in Limerick.

Mr Ruttle had no involvement in any of Holmes’ crimes.

The coroner said she was satisfied Holmes and Mr Ruttle both died of “an asphyxia-type death due to carbon monoxide poisoning”. The fumes were caused by burnt charcoal in buckets in the bedroom.

Rifle

Sergeant Gearoid Thompson, gave testimony that “members of the Harty family” told him they had been “looking for scrap metal” at the Ruttle farmhouse but instead they “found two dead bodies”.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy noted Mr Ruttle’s leg was “resting” on a .22 rifle loaded with two cartridges. It had not been fired, nor had a  shotgun also found in the bedroom.

Mr Ruttle’s sister, Jane Gardner, wept as she listened to the details.

The coroner said it was “the most tragic of circumstances and saddening of situations”.

Suicide notes left at the house were not read out. The coroner recorded a verdict of death by suicide.

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