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Tipperary community to hold vigil for tragic couple found dead in their rural home

Gardaí believe the bodies of Nicholas and Hillary Smith may have lain undiscovered for 18 months

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The scene where the bodies of a couple were found in a house near Cloneen, Co Tipperary Photo: Dylan Vaughan.

The scene where the bodies of a couple were found in a house near Cloneen, Co Tipperary Photo: Dylan Vaughan.

The scene where the bodies of a couple were found in a house near Cloneen, Co Tipperary Photo: Dylan Vaughan.

A CANDLE will be placed in each window of a south Tipperary community tonight to mark the deaths of the elderly English couple who passed away during Covid.

The small private vigil will take place at 7pm in the village of Cloneen, where residents were shocked and saddened by the discovery of the bodies of Nicholas and Hilary Smith on Monday.

Local councillor Mark Fitzpatrick said they had organised the vigil as a way of coming together after what had been a very difficult week. A more formal solemn memorial will take place at a later date.

Toxicology reports revealed yesterday that Mr Smith had died from natural causes but the cause of his wife’s death remains unclear, therefore allowing gardaí to rule out the possibility of a murder-suicide.

The Indo Daily: Tragedy in Tipperary - the mysterious death of a very private couple

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However, medical attempts to clarify the circumstances of his wife’s death have so far provided inconclusive results.

It is believed the bodies of Mr Smith (81) and Hillary (79) may have lain undiscovered in their Tipperary home for 18 months.

The case has puzzled locals in the rural area of Cloneen, between Fethard and Mullinahone, as they believed the couple had moved abroad during the Covid pandemic.

As they try to unravel the mystery, gardaí have also been in contact with police in the UK to try find any relatives of the Smiths. To date they have not been able to identify a next of kin.

After a search of the property in Cloneen, it is believed the couple may have died as long ago as November 2020 when they were last seen in the area.

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Locals had known the couple were due to travel to France at that time and someone had been asked to cut their grass while they were away.

The scene was sealed off for an examination by the Garda Technical Bureau which took place on Monday evening. The bodies of the couple were brought from the property on Monday night to University Hospital Waterford for a full post-mortem examination after the scene was examined by the State Pathologist.


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