Husband drives wrong way down M1 after beating wife to death with hammer
* Son discovered horrific scene
* Couple had five adult children, one deceased
* 'Lovely, quiet couple'
Published 28/07/2015 | 02:30
A mum-of-four was beaten to death with a lump hammer in an apparent suicide--murder tragedy.
Marie Quigley (68) died at her home in Hackballscross, Co Louth, just before her husband was killed driving the wrong way on the M1.
The body of Mrs Quigley was found by her son just before 4pm yesterday.
Sources said that Kieran Quigley had gone to meet his father, but instead found the house quiet and the upstairs bedroom locked and curtains drawn.
He then called his cousin to help him break down the bedroom door and the pair found the body of Mrs Quigley, who had suffered serious head injuries.
Moments later, when gardai arrived at the house to inform Ms Quigley of the death of husband Jim, they found the distressing scene.
“I have never seen anything like it,” a source told the Herald.
The couple had five children – Kieran, who also lived in Hackballscross, Gavin who lives in Cork, Mark who is currently in Canada and Sonya, who lives in Newbridge.
A fifth child, the couple’s son Aidan, died in a drowning accident when he was nine-years-old.
Gardaí realised yesterday that a car registered to that address was involved in a serious collision on the M1 some 15 miles away.
The crash on the M1 occurred at 2pm as Mr Quigley, driving the wrong way, collided with another car and a lorry.
Three other people were brought to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and the crash led to long traffic delays as gardai closed the motorway for a technical examination.
They confirmed that Mr Quigley died when his car collided with two other vehicles, including a truck.
The couple, both in their 60s, were well-known in the area.
Mrs Quigley (68) worked with Beagans Customs in Dundalk. The wider Quigley family is involved in oil distribution.
James, or Jim as he was known locally, was "quite friendly" but was known to have battled with mental health problems for many years.
“He suffered with depression and could get very down in himself,” one local said. “It’s such a terrible tragedy for all concerned.”
Alice Lynch, a life-long neighbour and friend of the family, said that the community was devastated.
“If there was one word I could use to describe Marie and Jim, it would be unique,” she said.
“They were a devoted couple who did everything together, they were extremely loyal to one another and it was an absolute shock to hear the news.
“I stayed up all night last night trying to come to terms with it. They were a lovely couple, very quiet who just went about their business.
“Marie was a very impressive woman, if the family were happy then she was happy. It just shows you never know what might happen. To say I’m shocked is an understatement.” Local priest Gerry Campbell told the Herald that the tragedy has come as a “huge shock” to the community.
“We cannot even begin to imagine what the family are going through at this time,” he said.
“All that we can do now as a community is rally around the four children and do what we can to comfort them at this time,” he added.
“There is a large extended family there, but it is in the time and weeks to come that they will all really need our help.”
"He suffered with depression and could get very down in himself. He suffered from terrible nerves," another local told the Irish Independent.
"He worked with his brother and would be seen leaving the house for work most mornings."
Another neighbour added: "The woman who died was a lovely, sweet woman. She would stop her car to give you a lift if she saw you walking on the street. That was the type of person she was."
Local priest Fr Gerry Campbell said: "It comes as a huge shock to the community and we cannot even begin to imagine what the family are going through at this time.
"It is quite a small area and a place where the family would have been well known so for this to have happened is an awful tragedy for the area. All that we can do now as a community is rally around the four children and do what we can to comfort them at this time.
"The shock and sadness is unbearable. There is a large extended family but it is in the time and weeks to come that they will all really need our help and we will have to do what we can for them."
Speaking this morning, the parish priest reiterated the fact that the community is close-knit.
"The community spirit here is very strong, people know each other very well," Fr Gerry Campbell of the Kilkerley parish told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland.
"And following what happened yesterday you can imagine the shock people are feeling.
"The son made the discovery [in the house], you can't imagine what he and his sister and brother are going through.
"It's an awful thing to come upon, it must have been such a shock.
"There is a feeling of numbness in the family, and it's extended throughout the community.
"It's devastating, and I suppose it's going to be like this for some time," Fr Campbell added.
Louth County councillor Declan Breathnach said the deaths were "a terrible tragedy and a terrible loss to the community".
Post mortems will be carried out at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda today.
Gardaí appealed for witnesses to contact Ardee Garda Station on 041-6871130, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any garda station.