Sunday 11 December 2016

Fraudster is cremated weeks after body found

Kathryn Hayes

Published 06/06/2015 | 02:30

Julia Holmes
Julia Holmes

A cremation service for convicted fraudster Julia Holmes took place more than a fortnight after her body was found.

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The remains of the 63-year-old were found in an upstairs bedroom alongside that of her partner Thomas Ruttle (56) at their home in Boolaglass, Askeaton, Co Limerick on May 18 last following an apparent suicide pact.

Gardaí believe the couple may have died from deliberate exposure to carbon monoxide.

Mr Ruttle was laid to rest earlier this week at St Mary's Church of Ireland in Askeaton.

But Ms Holmes's body had remained in the morgue for over a fortnight following the post mortem, unclaimed.

Her only child, a son whom she abandoned 40 years ago in Northern Ireland as a baby, said that he wants nothing to do with his estranged mother.

However, her body was taken from the morgue at University Hospital Limerick yesterday morning to the Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork for a private cremation.

Aliases

It's unclear what will happen to Ms Holmes ashes once they are available to be released.

It looks increasingly unlikely that anyone from her years in Northern Ireland, the US and the Republic will come forward to claim her remains.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Ms Holmes, who used over 40 different aliases, was a convicted fraudster who was the subject of Garda, PSNI and FBI investigations.

It recently emerged that the 63-year-old, who claimed to be married to Thomas Ruttle despite never divorcing her two previous husbands, had written to a solicitors firm in Belfast asking to be buried with Mr Ruttle.

Their bodies are thought to have lain undiscovered in their remote house for several weeks before a gang breaking into the property inadvertently came across them.

In 2006, Ms Holmes was convicted of perpetrating a fraud over the sale of non-existent property rights in Ireland to Texan business people.

Holmes was also wanted by the PSNI in connection with an £18,000 (€25,000) fraud she perpetrated in Northern Ireland in 2009.

She absconded in 2011, while facing more charges, and is believed to have met Mr Ruttle, who was a separated father-of-two, via social media.

The couple had picked up a prestigious Blás award in 2014 for their Irish Bee Sensations Honey, which was labelled as "local Irish heather honey".

It later transpired Ms Holmes was merely selling supermarket honey repackaged as an Irish premium product.

On Wednesday Mr Ruttle was laid to rest following a funeral service in St Mary's Church of Ireland in Askeaton attended by family and friends.

In his sermon Reverend Keith Scott told those gathered that their time of grief had been made more difficult by the strangeness of the events leading up to Mr Ruttle's death.

Detectives are awaiting the results of toxicology tests, which could take another week, before they can confirm how the couple died.

Irish Independent

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