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Sunday 19 November 2017

Family want 'murder house' demolished

The O'Driscoll family home where the tragedy took place.
The O'Driscoll family home where the tragedy took place.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A family who lost three sons in an horrific murder-suicide has pleaded with a council for help in demolishing their home so a new structure can be built.

Thomas and Helen O'Driscoll have been living in a caravan and motor home parked behind their cottage at Deerpark, Charleville, Co Cork, since the bodies of their twins, Patrick 'Paddy' and Thomas 'TomTom' O'Driscoll (9), were discovered with multiple stab wounds in separate bedrooms at the property on September 4.

The twins died from multiple stab injuries inflicted just over an hour after they had been brought home from Banogue national school by their older brother, Jonathan (21).

Jonathan, who had a history of mental health problems, was later discovered dead in woodland outside Buttevant, some 15km away, having taken his own life.

Now, Thomas and Helen revealed they want to demolish the property and build a new replacement home on the site.

"We don't want to live in there - not after what happened," Thomas said.

The couple insists on remaining at the site given all the happy memories of the children they raised there.

"That yard is our children's playground. It is our boys' playground and we will never, ever leave it," Helen said.

But they are pleading for a new house with no reminders of that awful September 4 day.

"The memories are just too painful. We don't want to be reminded of what happened in there," she added.

"But this place is our home too and we don't want to leave either because of the boys."

The couple have now created a shrine in the back garden.

"I know in my heart and soul that it wasn't my son (Jonathan) that did the harm. Whatever took him over that day or whatever happened, it wasn't my Jonathan," Helen said.

Jonathan was adopted as a baby but, over recent years, battled mental health problems which were exacerbated by frustrations he encountered from State agencies in tracing his birth family.

The family now believes the best solution is to demolish the property on compassionate grounds and replace it with a modern cottage exactly the same size.

The cottage, located just off the main Cork-Limerick road, is owned by Cork Co Council. It dates back over 50 years.

Thomas and Helen are now living in a caravan parked behind the cottage but admitted that the winter will be very hard for them, particularly given that Thomas has suffered from health problems over recent years.

The family's plight will now be raised with Cork Co Council and the Department of the Environment by local politicians.

Irish Independent

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