Fresh bid to end dispute over will of murder-suicide dad
Published 28/12/2013 | 02:30
A FRESH bid is under way to negotiate a settlement to a land dispute which erupted after a farmer changed his will days before drowning his daughter and himself.
It is now hoped a compromise can be hammered out between all parties over the will changed by Martin McCarthy (50) just over a week before he drowned his daughter, Clarissa (3), and then himself in the sea close to his farm at Audley Cove, Ballydehob, in Cork on March 5.
The Irish Independent has learned that several parties to the dispute have expressed a desire to see a settlement reached before a Cork coroner's inquest is staged into both deaths early in the new year.
The DPP and gardai have now concluded their investigation into the deaths.
Mr McCarthy changed his will just days before the double tragedy and deliberately excluded his California-born wife Rebecca (26) from inheriting major assets, leaving them to others.
Rebecca moved back to her native California last September after being left traumatised by the situation over her husband's will and the tragedy that wiped out her family.
Ms McCarthy launched a High Court action to restore her legal entitlement to her share of the family home and farm.
The legal action was signalled on July 2 last and strenuous efforts to reach a settlement over July and August failed.
Renewed attempts to negotiate a compromise settlement in October also failed.
If the latest round of negotiations fails to deliver an agreement, the matter will proceed to a hearing in 2014.
Ms McCarthy is taking High Court action to challenge her husband's altered will. She is also taking action against his estate for distress caused by the loss of her daughter.
A friend of Ms McCarthy confirmed that she remained in California but would return to west Cork for the inquest after Christmas.
"She is coping but it has been a terrible time for her.
"But Rebecca is determined to return to Ireland for the inquests and offer every possible assistance to the coroner," the friend said.
The couple first met when Rebecca was a 16-year-old student at Schull Community School a decade ago.
They married in 2006 when Rebecca was 19, with Clarissa being born three years ago.
Rebecca insisted that her husband and daughter be buried together and members of both families walked into Schull church side by side for the requiem Mass in a gesture of solidarity.