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Sunday 19 November 2017

Grieving mum to return from US for murder inquest

Farmer Martin McCarthy with his wife Rebecca and little Clarissa. Mr McCarthy drowned his daughter and then himself last March.
Farmer Martin McCarthy with his wife Rebecca and little Clarissa. Mr McCarthy drowned his daughter and then himself last March.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG American mother whose husband killed their three-year-old daughter before taking his own life will return to Ireland for their inquests in the new year.

The revelation came as it emerged that the DPP and the gardai have now concluded their investigation into the deaths of west Cork farmer Martin McCarthy (50) and his daughter, Clarissa (3).

Mr McCarthy changed his will just days before drowning his daughter and then himself in the sea close to his farm at Audley Cove outside Ballydehob on March 5.

He deliberately excluded his California-born wife, Rebecca (26), from inheriting major assets, leaving them instead to family and friends.

With the DPP and gardai now finished with the investigation into the tragedy, the Cork coroner can proceed with his inquest into the death of the father and daughter.

The inquest will now be staged in Bantry or Skibbereen early in the new year.

Ms McCarthy moved back to her native California in September after being left traumatised by the bitter row over her husband's will and the tragedy that wiped out her family.

Virtually no major assets were bequeathed by Mr McCarthy to his young wife.

Ms McCarthy has launched a High Court action to restore her legal entitlement to her share of the family home and farm.

The legal action was signalled on July 2 last and strenuous efforts to reach a settlement over July and August, and again in October, failed.


Ms McCarthy is also taking legal action against his estate for trauma caused by the loss of her daughter.

A friend of Ms McCarthy, whose maiden name is Rebecca Bailey-Cejnar, confirmed to the Irish Independent that she remains in California but will return for the inquest.

"She is coping but it has been a terrible time for her. Christmas will be particularly difficult without Clarissa. But Rebecca is determined to return to Ireland for the inquests and offer every possible assistance to the coroner," one friend said.

Since Rebecca left Ireland, the isolated house at Audley Cove has remained empty and locked.

The couple first met when Rebecca was a 16-year-old American student at Schull Community School.

They married in 2006 when Rebecca was 19, with Clarissa being born three years ago.

Mr McCarthy doted on the child and referred to her as his "princess." Rebecca insisted that her husband and daughter be buried together and members of both families walked into Schull Church side-by-side for the requiem Mass in a gesture of solidarity.

The huge search operation for the father and daughter was launched when Ms McCarthy discovered a note, headed 'Gone to heaven', left by her husband in a farm shed on March 5.

Irish Independent

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