Friday 20 January 2017

'My precious daughters are keeping me strong'

Ballycotton is still haunted by the tragedy that changed Una Butler's life forever, writes Eamon Keane

Published 31/07/2011 | 05:00

'Ella was two. She was very mischievous, loved dancing, jewellery, pulling Zoe's hair, Peppa Pig and having books read to her. She looked up to Zoe so much . . . my life is changed forever. I miss them so much.''

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The words of Una Butler, mother of six-year-old Zoe who was strangled and two-year-old Ella who was suffocated by their father John, 43, on the morning of November 16 last year. John Butler later killed himself by driving his car, loaded with a drum of petrol, into a ditch on a back road near the village of Ballycotton in Co Cork.

Ten months on and I am heading towards Ballycotton. I stop at the Top petrol station in Shanagarry. It was here that John Butler gave over €20 for a drum of petrol at 9.26am on that November morning. As I leave, a young man tells me that his grandfather was the last person to speak to John, adding: "It will never, ever be forgotten . . . you just can't."

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