Monday 18 December 2017

Man left note saying sorry for gunning down wife and daughter

Money worries: Philip Wood, with wife Sheila and daughter Sophie
Money worries: Philip Wood, with wife Sheila and daughter Sophie
A view of a house sealed off by the Spanish civil guard where three members of a family were found dead in Mijas Costa, near Malaga southern Spain

Gerard Couzens and Fiona Govan Mijas, Spain

A FORMER financial adviser left a written apology for gunning down his wife and disabled daughter and then shot himself, it is believed.

British expat Philip Wood (56) wrote the suicide note after apparently killing his disabled Irish-born wife Sheila (54) and their special needs aughter Sophie (27) at their rented villa on the Costa del Sol.

Their landlord discovered the three bodies – Mr Wood on a sofa and his wife and daughter in their beds – after going to collect rent.

Spanish police said there were no signs of a forced entry at the four-bedroom property in Mijas Costa, between Marbella and Malaga.

Sources said they had not ruled out other theories, including the possibility that Mr Wood committed two "mercy killings".

It is understood the family was experiencing financial difficulties and had fallen months behind with the rent. Mr Wood was struggling to cope as the full-time carer of his wife and daughter. He lost his job more than a year ago and had been visited several times by debt collectors.

Mrs Wood was believed to have been suffering from a terminal illness and their daughter had cerebral palsy and learning difficulties that left her with the mental age of a 10-year-old.

Autopsies took place yesterday in Malaga but the results were not made public, as is normal in Spain.

A source close to the case, which is now being investigated by a judge, said: "There was nothing in the autopsies to disprove the theory this was a double murder and suicide."

Last night, friends and former colleagues spoke of the problems plaguing Mr Wood before he apparently took the decision to end his loved ones' lives.

One said: "I only met his wife once because she suffered from chronic back problems and didn't go out much. He was doing everything for his wife and daughter. He lost his job in April last year when the successor company of the firm he worked for closed.

INSEPARABLE

"As far as I know he hadn't worked since then and I think he was struggling to make money. I last saw him a couple of months ago in a local supermarket. He said he was fine and seemed as stoic as always."

Craig Beck (44), who runs Raquets restaurant, a five- minute drive from the family home, added: "They'd come in as a family every Sunday for dinner at 6.15pm on the dot.

"A few years ago he bought a €39,000 new BMW and a Mini for his wife but in recent months he was driving round in a smaller rental car.

"I don't know if he made a series of bad investments but it was clear he didn't have the funds once available to him.

"He called around 10 days ago asking if I could cash a cheque for €30 because he couldn't get to the bank in Marbella. I had to say 'no' because the cheque was in his name and there was nothing I could do to help him. . . But there was nothing in his behaviour which made me think something like this would happen.

"He and his wife seemed inseparable and he doted on his daughter."

Mrs Wood told friends they had made a fortune on a former home in Ireland before the property crash. It is understood they lived in Mount Merrion in south Dublin but they moved to Spain with the proceeds of the sale and savings from her husband's job with AIB.

She used to be a regular at restaurants including the Polo House in Marbella which closed down earlier this year and was managed by Princess Diana's former lover, James Hewitt.

Mrs Wood gave an interview with local radio in July last year talking about the difficulties of caring for a disabled child.

"It's a very isolating experience, you do feel as if you're on your own, particularly when you reach out and you can't find others," she said.

The bodies are thought to have lain undiscovered for several days before they were found just before midday on Wednesday.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News