Sunday 26 February 2017

Dad who died in suspected suicide pact is laid to rest

Kathryn Hayes

The coffin of Thomas Ruttle is carried by relatives from St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Askeaton, Co Limerick
The coffin of Thomas Ruttle is carried by relatives from St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Askeaton, Co Limerick

Mourners at the funeral of a man who died in an apparent suicide pact with a convicted fraudster have been told that "today is not a day for blame or anger".

Thomas Ruttle was laid to rest yesterday over a fortnight after he was found dead with his partner Julia Holmes in the upstairs bedroom of his farmhouse at Boolaglass, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

Mr Ruttle (56) was remembered as "a beloved brother and father" at his funeral service in St Mary's Church of Ireland in Askeaton.

In a tribute read out on behalf of his sons, Ian and Kelvin Ruttle, they said their father was "a devoted, generous and loving father who was dedicated to beekeeping for over 30 years".

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.

"There is no sorrow like the sorrow at the death of a loved one," said Rev Scott.

"It has been made all the more intense for us today because of the uncertainty and the long wait which has had to be endured to get to today, by the almost incomprehensible events surrounding Thomas's death.

"There is a sense that somehow we have failed. That somehow there was something we should have said or done, something we missed, or something that we wish we could now take back, that we did or said which we should not have done or said."

Gardaí believe the couple may have died from deliberate exposure to carbon monoxide and are awaiting the results of toxocology texts.

Meanwhile, it is understood Ms Holmes, the woman who claimed to be married to Mr Ruttle despite never divorcing her previous two husbands, will be cremated later in the week.

Originally from Northern Ireland, the convicted fraudster used over 40 different aliases and was the subject of PSNI and FBI police investigations.

Irish Independent

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