Tuesday 23 January 2018

'Our parents' murder-suicide haunts every day of our lives'

Marie Quigley was killed by husband Jim at their home in Co Louth
Marie Quigley was killed by husband Jim at their home in Co Louth

Elaine Keogh

The children of Jim and Marie Quigley, who died in a murder-suicide, have said mental health issues which "should not be ignored" are rampant in Ireland.

In a statement issued after the inquests into their parents deaths they said they live with "this tragedy every minute of every day".

Their mother Marie was found dead in her bedroom and their father Jim died after driving his car into the path of an articulated lorry on the M1 motorway. It is believed that Jim murdered Marie before taking his own life.

Dundalk Coroner's Court heard their son Kieran had a bad feeling when his dad did not turn up to meet him at the DOE test centre in Dundalk at about 2.45pm on July 27, 2015. He rang his mother and father's phones but no one answered so he went to the family home at Newtownbalregan, Co Louth.

When he arrived at the house he saw the blinds were down in his parents bedrooms; his mother was an early riser and always pulled up her blind.

The back door was locked so he opened the front door and went upstairs. His father's bedroom was empty but his mother's door was locked. He was ringing her phone and could hear it ringing out.

He rang 999 and family members. His uncle and cousin arrived and they tried to open the door. When they got it open Kieran said he could see a blanket over somebody and there was blood all over the place.

It was "the most devastating moment in my life", he told investigating gardaí.

Garda Superintendent Brian Mohan, then an inspector in Dundalk, said the body of Mrs Quigley was lying across the bed and was partially covered. She had suffered severe head injuries and a towel was stuck in her mouth. A doctor pronounced her dead at the scene.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy performed a post-mortem examination and said she had been the victim of a violent attack while in bed.

Mrs Quigley had suffered blunt force trauma to the head with an object such as a hammer. She had stab wounds to her face and neck and there was a scalding injury to her face as well as bruising to her hands. She concluded death was due to instrumental blunt force trauma to the head and obstruction of the airways because of a gag. She said death would have been within minutes of the assault.

The inquest heard that James Quigley had driven southwards on the hard shoulder of the northbound lane of M1 south of Dundalk and had then driven into an articulated lorry.

In a statement, Kieran, Sonya, Mark and Gavin Quigley, the children of the deceased, said: "The sense of losing both parents is overwhelming. We can only pray time will ease the heartache and heal our souls."

Irish Independent

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