Tuesday 26 September 2017

Mum forgives son at centre of murder-suicide

Jonathan O'Driscoll. Photo: UTV/PA Wire
Jonathan O'Driscoll. Photo: UTV/PA Wire
Helen O'Driscoll at the gravesite of her sons. Photo: UTV/PA Wire
Parents Thomas and Helen O'Driscoll at their twin sons Thomas and Paddy funeral mass in Charleville (Photo:Mark Condren)
Jonathan O'Driscoll (centre) with his twin brothers Patrick and Thomas. Photo: UTV/PA Wire
Thomas and Patrick O'Driscoll. Photo: UTV/PA Wire
Helen O'Driscoll at the gravesite of her sons, as she has said that she forgives her adopted son Jonathan for killing his nine-year-old twin brothers Thomas and Patrick before taking his own life following the double murder at in their home in Charleville, Cork. Photo: UTV/PA Wire
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A mother who lost three sons in a horrific murder-suicide said she could never hate her eldest boy, who is feared responsible for the triple tragedy.

Jonathan O'Driscoll (21) took his own life less than an hour after the bodies of his twin brothers - Patrick 'Paddy' and Thomas 'TomTom' O'Driscoll (9) - were discovered with multiple stab wounds in the family home at Deerpark, Charleville, Co Cork.

The twins died just over an hour after they had been brought home from national school by their brother.

Minutes earlier, Jonathan had brought the twins to Doneraile Park so they could enjoy the autumn sunshine before they started their homework.

The twins were fatally attacked in their bedrooms as they changed out of their school uniforms on September 4.

Jonathan O'Driscoll, who had a history of mental health problems, was discovered dead an hour later in woodland outside Buttevant, some 15km away.

Helen O'Driscoll said she remains heartbroken by the loss of her three boys.

But she insisted that she has forgiven Jonathan and can never hate him for what happened.

"I know people do hate him - I know the wider community of the Travelling Community hates him," she said.

"But as I have said 101 times, I am his mother. I forgive him. I couldn't give a hoot what the whole world would say about my son because I knew him as the boy I reared."

The Requiem Mass for the three brothers was shared on September 8 - but while the twins were buried together in Charleville's Holy Cross cemetery, Jonathan was buried with his maternal grandparents in Kilmallock.

Helen said she will never forget the awful events after she and her husband Thomas were contacted as they were on their way to Waterford to buy a toy replica of a barrel-wagon for the twins and told to get back to Charleville immediately.

"I just asked Jesus and Our Blessed Lady, I said 'Please, don't let it be true.' I just kept praying," she told UTV.

"When I got up home there were so many cars and Gardai. A lovely young garda came up to me and all he said to me was: 'Helen, your boys are gone… but the doctors are in there with them trying to help.' At that stage I broke down."

Helen revealed that the first person she sought was her eldest son, Jonathan, amid concerns for his welfare.

"I know people will say: 'What was wrong with her?' But I went looking for my John," she said.

"I wanted my John… my pride and joy… my rock. He was the (back) bone of our family. I will never hate him."

The twins had only made their First Holy Communion in May - and they were buried in the suits bought for that occasion.

In the church Jonathan's coffin was flanked by the matching coffins of his twin brothers.

At the Requiem Mass, Helen's oldest daughter, Bernadette, spoke of the family's devastation at what had happened.

"To my three brothers, Jonathan, Paddy and Tom Tom, your memories of laughter that we shared together as a family growing up together I will treasure for the rest of my life," she said.

"I will always love you and I will always miss you. Forever, our family hearts are broken. From our hearts, we say a fond farewell to the three of you. God will be waiting at the Gates of Heaven to take you in."

The wagon that Thomas and Helen had travelled to Waterford to buy was the centrepiece of the funeral cortege.

Irish Independent

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