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Friday 15 December 2017

Depressed dad to be buried separately from two little girls

Ralph Riegel

THE depressed father who killed his two daughters before setting himself on fire will be buried separately from his little girls.

The body of John Butler (41) lay in repose yesterday just metres from his daughters, Zoe (7) and Ella (2), in their family bungalow outside the east Cork village of Ballycotton.

While John and his daughters will have separate funerals, all three spent yesterday in the house in which Zoe and Ella had been so looking forward to spending Christmas.

Zoe had already been working on her letter to Santa Claus.

A statement issued on behalf of heartbroken mother Una Butler-O'Riordan (39) and her family last night asked the public and media to respect their privacy at this traumatic time.

"It is with great sadness that Una Butler and the family of the late John Butler have brought home the bodies of John, Zoe and Ella to the family home at Ballycotton, Co Cork," a family spokesperson said.

"A special Mass of the Angels will take place for Zoe and Ella at the Church of the Star of the Sea, Ballycotton on Friday at 2.30pm."

"John's funeral Mass will take place at St Colman's Cathedral in Cobh on Saturday.

Grief

"Una and John's families are struggling to come to terms with the enormous and tragic loss of Zoe, Ella and John. They would ask for prayers for them and for all who are grieving."

Una's sisters have not left her side since the tragedy occurred three days ago. One friend said the grieving mother was "holding up -- but she is totally shattered by all of this".

Zoe and Ella were found dead in the front bedroom of the Butler family home on Tuesday.

Mr Butler is believed to have killed the two children and then doused himself in petrol before driving his Toyota Yaris car at high speed into a ditch and tree. He died in the inferno and from the effects of smoke inhalation. His remains had to be identified from dental records.

Mr Butler had been treated for depression over the past year after he became increasingly frustrated at his inability to get new employment having lost his construction industry job in 2009.

A special guard of honour for the little girls will be provided today by Zoe's classmates at Realt na Mhara national school.

Irish Independent

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