Death pact suspected after bodies are found
TWO women found dead on a beach yesterday morning may have been involved in a double suicide pact, gardai believe.
Last night they were attempting to track down the relatives of the women, who are both understood to be from Wales.
An unattended car was found near the fully clothed bodies of the middle-aged women at Whitestrand, near Miltown Malbay, in Co Clare.
The car was not locked and gardai discovered a dog inside, along with a supply of dog food.
The women lay about 10 feet apart on rocks alongside the beach and close to a low wall. There were no obvious marks on either body and no indication of violence, but the clothing of both women was wet.
It is thought that the women may have stayed locally overnight, while gardai were also investigating the possibility that they may have relatives or friends in the area.
Just yards away was a Citroen car with a UK registration. It is thought that the car was registered in Wales.
The car is believed to have been spotted in Miltown Malbay on Thursday evening.
The grim discovery was made by a local resident who was walking on the beach. Gardai from Ennistymon were on the scene within minutes and a local doctor pronounced the women dead at the scene.
Senior garda officers from Ennis arrived at the beach before midday and a decision was made to call in Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis. An Irish Coastguard team from Doolin assisted gardai in cordoning off the area.
Garda technical experts carried out an examination of the entire scene and the bodies were later removed to the Mid West Regional Hospital in Limerick. Dr Curtis was due to conclude post-mortems last night.
An ISPCA dog warden was alerted and later arrived at the scene to take the dog into care.
The area is one of the most beautiful on the western coastline and very popular with tourists. The beach is about 3km from Miltown Malbay and closer still to the seaside resort of Spanish Point.
Up to 40 mobile holiday homes are permanently parked near Whitestrand beach and yesterday a number of visitors spoke of their shock at the deaths.
"This is such a quiet place at this time of year. But it is hard to believe that such a thing could happen right out of the blue," said one woman, who declined to be identified.
As yet no one in Co Clare has came forward with a connection to the women.
Police in the UK were alerted to the discovery of the bodies and gardai were hopeful of identifying the registered owner of the car last night.
A senior garda said that the deaths were not being treated as suspicious. "Right now it appears to be a terrible tragedy for these ladies, but we need to have a full report from the post-mortems before we can say definitively how they died," he added.