Saturday 1 October 2016

Burglars found bodies of couple during break-in

Paul Williams

Published 19/05/2015 | 02:30

The scene near Askeaton on the Rathkeale road where the bodies of Julia Holmes and Tom Ruttle were located at 3am on Monday
The scene near Askeaton on the Rathkeale road where the bodies of Julia Holmes and Tom Ruttle were located at 3am on Monday
State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy at the scene

Burglars discovered the badly decomposed bodies of an on-the-run fraudster and her partner when they broke into a rural farmhouse.

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The thieves rang gardaí in a panic after finding the remains of Julia Holmes (63) and Thomas Ruttle (56) side-by-side on a bed.

The grandmother had the notorious distinction of being investigated by police on both sides of the Atlantic.

Two handwritten notes, dated March 14, were found on the kitchen table of the house near Askeaton, Co Limerick, the Irish Independent can reveal. They were apparently signed by both of the deceased.

A gang of well-known criminals stumbled on the bodies while they were ransacking the property looking for valuables.

They fled the scene but feared they would be blamed for a double murder and rang gardaí at around 3am yesterday.

Post-mortem examinations last night were inconclusive, but gardaí believe this was either a murder-suicide or a suicide pact between the couple.

The house where the gruesome discovery was made was the home of Mr Ruttle, who was a separated father of grown children. He was a part-time farmer and mechanic from the area.

He was the registered owner of two weapons, a rifle and a double-barrelled shotgun. It is understood a rifle was found on the floor next to the bed.

Ms Holmes, who is originally from Ballynahinch, Co Down, had more than 20 convictions and was being sought by the gardaí and the PSNI for fraud offences.

In 2006 she was deported from the US after she was arrested in connection with a $500,000 (€440,000) property scam in Texas.

Irish Independent

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