Saturday 14 December 2019

Grieving mother 'forgives' son for triple tragedy

Family and friends grieve the remains of twin brothers leaving their home in Chaleville north Cork
Family and friends grieve the remains of twin brothers leaving their home in Chaleville north Cork
Parents Thomas and Ellen O'Driscoll, inset twins Patrick and Thomas
Forencic Gardai at the scene of the house in Chaleville north Cork
Father of the twins Thomas O'Driscoll
Mother of twins Ellen O'Driscoll
Family and friends grief the remains of twin brothers leaving their home in Chaleville north Cork . Pic:Mark Condren 5.9.2014
Family and friends at the scene of the house in Charleville north Cork where two twin boys where stabbed to death. Pic:Mark Condren

Ralph Reigel

A FATHER who lost three sons to a murder-suicide has spoken of how his heart has been broken by the triple tragedy.

Thomas O'Driscoll was distraught as relatives and neighbours in the north Cork town of Charleville rallied to support him, his wife, Helen, and their family devastated by the deaths of Jonathan (21) and twins, Patrick 'Paddy' and Thomas 'TomTom' O'Driscoll (9).

The twins, found in separate rooms at the family home at Deerpark on the Cork-Limerick Road at 5pm on Thursday, died from multiple stab wounds.

The alarm was raised by their five- and three- year-old siblings who were playing outside.


Both children immediately ran to a neighbour' s house when they realised something was terribly wrong in their home.

The body of Jonathan was found in woodland some 15km away having apparently taken his own life.

Tragic scenes marked the removal of the twins bodies as their parents were comforted by relatives who formed an impromptu cortege around the hearse.

Stricken father Thomas O'Driscoll told how their hearts were breaking as his family struggled to cope with the escalating nightmare.

"We're heartbroken," he said.

His wife, Helen, told relatives that she has already forgiven Jonathan.

"She was barely able to talk about it last night but she said she forgave Jonathan for what he did to the boys," a family member said.

The twins died in separate attacks as they changed out of their school uniforms having left Banogue national school at 3.30pm.

The boys were collected by Jonathan who first brought them to Doneraile Park before driving them back home.

One hour after the twins were discovered, Jonathan was found dead in a wooded area outside Buttevant, some 15km away, by a 14-year-old boy and girl, and a 10-year-old, with one of the teens being a Spanish exchange student on her second day in Ireland.

A kitchen knife was also found nearby.

The parents discovered their three sons had died when a Charleville relative made a frantic phone call to them as they travelled to Waterford to purchase the gift of a miniature caravan for the youngsters.

It is expected that all three brothers will be buried together but no decision has yet been taken by the family on funeral arrangements.

The three bodies were taken to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, will perform full post mortem examinations.

Charleville curate Fr Tom Naughton said the community was struggling to cope with "a heart-rending tragedy."

"It is absolutely unimaginable. The death of any child in a situation like this is not a natural thing. To lose three children is beyond words," he said.

The triple tragedy came just 24 hours after the second anniversary of the killing of Anthony Ward (8) in Charleville by his mother, Diane.

The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, said the entire diocese was shocked by the tragedy. "I pray that the Lord will strengthen the family during this terrible time," he said.

Dr Crean urged everyone to pray for the family.

Anyone concerned about the issues involved in the tragedy can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

Irish Independent

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