Saturday 24 June 2017

Homicide detectives not looking for anyone else after Irish mother and son (7) found dead in home

* Police forced their way into a home in West London
* Named as Sinead Higgins and son Oisín
* A third party is not suspected of being involved
* Sinead's brother Cathal died in motorcycle crash in 2004

Mother Sinead Higgins and son Oisín O'Driscoll
Mother Sinead Higgins and son Oisín O'Driscoll
A property on The Fairway in Ruislip where the bodies of a woman and a boy were discovere. Photo credit: Ben Cawthra/LNP
Spider-Man curtains and a pair of small shoes hang in the window of a property on The Fairway in Ruislip where the bodies of a woman and a boy were discovered. Photo: Ben Cawthra/LNP

Cathal McMahon and Allison Bray

The bodies of an Irish mother and her seven-year-old son have been discovered after police forced their way into a house in London.

Officers were called to a house in The Fairway, Ruislip, west London, at around 10.50am on Wednesday over welfare concerns for Co Mayo woman Sinead Higgins and her son Oisín O'Driscoll.

The bodies of Ms Higgins (37) and the young boy were discovered inside, the Metropolitan Police said.

Formal identification has yet to take place. Police do not believe that there was a third party involved.

Sinead Higgins. Picture: Twitter
Sinead Higgins. Picture: Twitter

It is understood that Ms Higgins is originally from Westport, Co Mayo and is a qualified nurse.

She had retrained as a lawyer and was presently working for a medical negligence company as a legal adviser.

At the time of her death the single mum owed thousands in county court judgments, the Telegraph is reporting.

Ms Higgins had a county court judgement for almost £3,000 (€3,578).

The mother tweeted, "The future looks very stormy," last Friday in her final post on the social media network.

Residents told the Evening Standard that Ms Higgins had been living in London for two years.

Detective inspector Dave Bolton, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "The investigation is at a very early stage but inquiries so far lead us to believe there is a likelihood that the tragic events that led to the deaths do not involve a third party.

"We are appealing to anyone who has any information to come and speak with us."

Neighbour Barbara Lonnon told the Evening Standard that she had spoken to the mother about a month ago.

She said: "She kept herself to herself but we'd speak if we saw each other on the street.

Flowers and a note left in the doorway of a property on The Fairway in Ruislip. Photo credit: Ben Cawthra/LNP
Flowers and a note left in the doorway of a property on The Fairway in Ruislip. Photo credit: Ben Cawthra/LNP

"She was Irish and had lived here for two years. I met her in her first summer here."

Ms Lonnon added: "She was Irish originally and all her family were there.

"I never really spoke to her son Oisin, he was seven and ran around like little boys do. He was a friendly chap and it’s so sad his life has been cut short."

A post-mortem examination is scheduled to take place at Fulham mortuary on Friday.

The community of Aughagower in Westport has been reeling in shock over news of the deaths.

A neighbour said Sinead’s death and that of her son is the latest in a string of tragedies to hit the Higgins family who are a well-known local family.

Sinead, one of ten siblings, lost her father Thomas Higgins (68) to cancer in August 2014 while her brother Cathal, (19) was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash in May, 2004 just months after he was the pallbearer at the funeral of local girl Aisling McGing (18), who was his date at his debs.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who knew Tom well as chairman of the local Fine Gael club, had visited Mr Higgins in hospital after he fell ill and attended his funeral.

Ms Higgins’ mother Mary, still lives in the family home in Arderry, but it’s understood that the remaining siblings are scattered in various places around the globe, including Sinead’s brothers Des, Barna, Micheál, David, Donal, Fintan and sisters Gina, Deirdre and Sharon.

“It’s desperate. Everyone is shocked,” the neighbour told Independent.ie.

He  said he didn’t know Sinead very well as she had left the area in her early 20s to pursue a career in nursing in the UK.

“We’d only see her on family occasions or at Christmas or summer holidays,” he said.

“But she’s been gone so long, no one really knows her here,” he said.

Local Mayo county councillor Michael Holmes (Ind) who is a distant relative of Mary Higgins, said he too was shocked and saddened to hear the news today.

While he only met Sinead several times when she was a young girl, he said her death and the death of Oisin, couldn’t have come at a worse time with Christmas just around the corner.

“The family will be coming from different corners of the world now,” he said of Sinead’s siblings returning home to comfort their mother.

“Your heart goes out to the mother and the rest of the family,” he said.

“They’re a decent and honourable family and are well respected in the area,” he added.

If you have been affected by issues in this article, you can free-phone the Samaritans on 116 123. Pieta House can be contacted on 1800 247 247.  For more information on Pieta House and its services visit www.pieta.ie.

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