'My precious daughters are keeping me strong'
Ballycotton is still haunted by the tragedy that changed Una Butler's life forever, writes Eamon Keane
'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.''
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."