A mother's nightmare: her little girls laid out side by side
ALL she needed was a scant half-hour to tidy the house and fix everything to rights. Just a few minutes to clear away the usual flotsam and jetsam of a normal family home.
They would hardly have left the house two minutes and she would have been missing her little girls already -- Kate with her lovely tumble of red curls, and little Grace, her tiny bundle with her crooked baby smiles.
Michelle Gilmore would have scooped her daughters up in her arms for a cuddle, breathing Grace's still-newborn talcum-powder scent and told them she'd missed them.
Instead, it was a nightmare of unimaginable horror that awaited. The broken shards of a baby buggy lying by the side of the road -- and a searing pain beyond comprehension.
A Christening was going on in the local hotel just yards away from where a simple Sunday stroll in the October sunshine ended in utter devastation.
The family had just returned, bronzed and in high spirits, from two weeks building sandcastles on the beach on a family holiday in Lanzarote.
They'd travelled from nearby Knock Airport to the popular holiday resort on October 11 and returned home to Tuam last Thursday.
There had been a family wedding in Lanzarote while they were over there and so they'd decided to make a holiday out of it.
John Gilmore's brother, Mark, had married Wendy Pugh in Tiaz, Lanzarote, last Monday. John -- the second eldest of four brothers -- was their best man and Kate had been the star of the show, dancing in her own long, white dress at the reception at the Amure restaurant in Puerto Calaro.
It had been just one wonderful day out of the string of wonderful days they had spent together as a family.
John works as an engineer in Derry, Monday to Friday, returning home at the weekends to be with his girls.
He was a devoted father, said everyone yesterday who knew him, explaining how he was well known in GAA circles.
He hadn't done anything out of the ordinary when he took his daughters out for a brief stroll to get some fresh air into their lungs on a mellow October afternoon.
It was a circular walk around the town that was a popular route with walkers and joggers.
A moment of bad luck was all it took.
The family were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Last night, John and Michelle were all alone. Their beautiful family had been wiped out completely. In the hospital morgue, two beautiful little girls were laid out side by side.