Health fears blamed for shooting of family in Spanish villa
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said last night that they are continuing to provide consular assistance to the family of Irish woman Sheila Wood (54), nee Donegan, and her severely disabled daughter Sophie (27).
Spanish police believe the mother and daughter were gunned down by the apparently devoted husband and father, Philip Wood, who then seems to have taken his own life in their rented villa in Mijas, near Fuengirola.
No funeral arrangements have yet been made for the slain family and it is unclear whether they will be buried in Ireland.
It is believed that Sheila Wood was terminally ill and facing certain kidney failure.
Isolated and without any back-up care for their daughter, the family were finding life increasingly difficult.
Sheila's brother Desmond Donegan described his former brother-in-law as "a good husband and father".
He believes that the former financial adviser was concerned about the fate of their daughter, Sophie, who was born with cerebral palsy, if his wife should die and says he "must have decided it was the only way out".
Meanwhile, it is understood that the family – who had moved to Spain 10 years ago in the hope that it would improve Sophie's health – were also in financial difficulty.
Mr Wood lost his job last year when the company he worked for went bust.
The family had been visited by debt collectors and it is understood that Mr Wood was gravely worried about the situation.
On Wednesday, when the landlord called to the villa to try and recover the unpaid rent, the bodies of the two women were discovered in their beds, covered with a sheet.
Mr Wood's body was on a couch in the sitting room. All three had apparently suffered gunshot wounds.
Local media reported that Mr Wood left a note apologising for his actions and explaining why he carried out the killings.
Online tributes from friends and family spoke of their devastation at losing a devoted family in such tragic circumstances.