Friday 28 October 2016

Tragic details of fraudster granny and Irish beekeeper partner to be disclosed at inquest

David Raleigh

Published 25/04/2016 | 10:39

Julia Holmes and her partner Tom Ruttle
Julia Holmes and her partner Tom Ruttle

The tragic details over what led to the mystery deaths of a fraudster grandmother and her Co Limerick beekeeper lover are to be disclosed later today at their joint inquest in West Limerick.

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Gardai believe Tyrone-born con woman Julia Holmes, and her innocent Limerick partner Thomas Ruttle, died after inhaling fumes from a charcoal barbecue which was placed next to them in a sealed bedroom in Mr Ruttle's house.

The couple's badly decomposed bodies were discovered by members of the Harty Traveller gang, from Askeaton, who broke into the Ruttle family home in Boolaglass on May 18th, 2015.

Members of the gang have been summonsed as witnesses to give evidence at today's inquest, gardai revealed.

The gang were charged with burglary last October and bound to the peace for 12 months.

Suicide notes apparently left by Ms Holmes and Mr Ruttle included directions that the notes be read out at their inquest.

Gardai have revealed how the bedroom in which Mr Ruttle and Ms Holmes bodies' were discovered, had been sealed from the inside.

A burnt out charcoal BBQ was also found in the room.

Ms Holmes, a serial fraudster, and the subject of an international police hunt across several countries, was found lying next to Mr Ruttle in bed.

A shotgun found in the bedroom led Gardai to believe Ms Holmes (63) and Mr Ruttle (56), had been shot, however this was ruled out in post martens.

Liquid in glass containers found beside the bodies is thought to have contained poison or heavy amounts of medication.

"There was a charcoal barbecue in the room. When those coals are lit they produce carbon monoxide, and the room was completely sealed," a Garda source revealed.

"Charcoal-burning suicide" is a known method of taking one's own life by inhaling high concentrated levels of carbon monoxide from burning charcoal in an enclosed area.

Ms Holmes, who served a prison sentence in Texas for a $500,000 property fraud, was wanted by police services across the world.

She was allegedly involved in major property frauds in the North, the US, and Australia.

Ms Holmes, who had several aliases, had been due to be buried in a pauper's grave, as none of her family had claimed her remains.

She was cremated at the final hour in Cork after a member of the Ruttle family stepped in to organise the private ceremony.

A mystery person has since claimed her ashes.

Mr Ruttle, who knew nothing of his partner's criminal background, was buried in his family plot in Rathkeale Cemetery.

Ms Holmes had written up debts of €70,000 owed to builders in West Limerick after she employed them to redecorate Mr Ruttle's farmhouse.

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