Friday 24 November 2017

'I realised something was badly wrong' - mum of tragic Brandon and Shane Michael Skeffington tells of horror after finding boys' bodies

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The mother of two boys who died after a tragic murder suicide at their family home has called for more awareness and education around mental illness.

Carmel and Shane Skeffington returned home on July 20th, 2014 after getting some shopping with their two-year-old son Calum to discover the horrific scene.

Brandon Skeffington (9)
Brandon Skeffington (9)

Her son Shane Michael (20) had stabbed his nine-year-old brother Brandon and then taken his own life.

"Everything seemed fine when we left, Shane Michael was in Brandon's room," Carmel told RTE Radio 1's Sean O'Rourke show this morning.

Shane Skeffington
Shane Skeffington

"That was nothing unusual - they did spend a lot of time together".

It was about 15 minutes after the Skeffington parents had returned home that Carmel first discovered Brandon at the top of the stairs.

Carmel Healy Skeffington at the funeral mass of her sons Brandon and Shane Michael Skeffington (both inset) in St. Attracta’s Church, Tourlestrane, Sligo.
Carmel Healy Skeffington at the funeral mass of her sons Brandon and Shane Michael Skeffington (both inset) in St. Attracta’s Church, Tourlestrane, Sligo.

"As I got up near the top of the stairs I seen [sic] that Brandon was lying on the ground on his back," she said.

"At first I thought he was messing as he was a right little joker. But when I got closer I realised that something was badly wrong."

Shane and Carmel Skeffington at Sligo Coroner’s Court for the inquest into the death of their sons Shane Michael and Brandon
Shane and Carmel Skeffington at Sligo Coroner’s Court for the inquest into the death of their sons Shane Michael and Brandon

Shane and Carmel gave evidence of finding Brandon on the landing in blood-soaked clothing at an inquest into his death on Monday.

The boys' sister Sharon, who was aged 15 at the time, recalled in a statement that she had been in her bedroom listening to music and texting friends while her parents were away.

It was only after the paramedics arrived that day and were attending to Brandon that Shane began to look for Shane Michael, Carmel told RTE Radio 1 today.

"I hadn't made a connection at this time. I said to [my husband] Shane - 'go out the back, he's probably out the back with his dog'.

"Shane went outside then and he found him and called for help. When I went out Shane Michael was on the ground."

Carmel said that herself and her husband "just didn't realise" how sick their eldest son was in the run up to the tragedy.   

They had sought professional help for Shane Michael when he hit his father in May 2014.

She said that he stayed in a high dependency unit in the hospital for six days and they told he was been treated for a psychotic episode.

"But in July he wasn't behaving like that. We thought he was better, just a lot quieter," she said.

"I think more needs to be done along the lines of following up. I mean Shane Michael didn't go to his appointments - he was discharged, people need to be educated more.

"Knowing the dangers of a psychotic episode or that it could happen again. We didn't really know, I guess we were out of our depth."

Carmel said the family talks about the boys "the whole time" and that the Christmas period is particularly difficult without them around.

"We've so many lovely memories of them...we still try to include them... it may be just be a snow globe with just their picture."

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