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Paddy and Thomas to be buried side by side in First Communion suits

THE twin boys who died at the hands of their older brother will be buried in their Holy Communion outfits.

Patrick 'Paddy' and Thomas 'TomTom' O'Driscoll (9) began their final journey last night - accompanied by Jonathan who stabbed them to death last week.

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Paddy and Thomas in their communion suits.

Paddy and Thomas in their communion suits.

Twins Paddy and Thomas with brother Jonathan O'Driscoll.

Twins Paddy and Thomas with brother Jonathan O'Driscoll.

The removal of twins Paddy and Thomas O'Driscoll with brother Jonathan in Charleville, co. Cork. The twins' coffins were driven in the first hearse.

The removal of twins Paddy and Thomas O'Driscoll with brother Jonathan in Charleville, co. Cork. The twins' coffins were driven in the first hearse.

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Paddy and Thomas in their communion suits.

Gardai now fear that the 21-year-old may have been planning the murder-suicide for months. It is believed that he acquired the knife used in the attack more than a week before the tragedy.

He was on medication for mental health difficulties, had become obsessed with finding his birth mother and was also troubled over an upcoming court case.

Thomas and Helen O'Driscoll had to be physically supported by relatives as the coffins of their three sons were taken from O'Malley's funeral home to the Church of the Holy Cross in Charleville, Co Cork.

More than 300 people gathered with the sombre cortege led by curate Fr Tom Naughton, who has prayed with the family every day since the triple tragedy last Thursday.

The nine-year-olds died from multiple stab wounds sustained in separate attacks in two different rooms at the family's home at Deerpark on the Cork-Limerick road.

Woodland

They made their First Holy Communion only a few months ago - and they will now be buried in the suits of which they were so proud.

Their older brother, Jonathan, was discovered dead in woodland just outside Buttevant, some 15km away. He had taken his own life.

The three brothers yesterday lay in repose, side by side, at O'Malley's funeral home at the New Line, Charleville, from 1.30pm to 4pm.

All three white coffins were open and the extended O'Driscoll family formed a semi-circle around the remains in the funeral home. Hundreds queued throughout the day to pay their respects and support the devastated family.

At 4.30pm mourners walked beside the two hearses from the funeral home down to Charleville's Main Street.

The three coffins were then brought to the O'Driscoll family home accompanied only by immediate family members. The coffins were then brought into the Church of the Holy Cross along with a pick-up truck full of flowers and wreaths.

One wreath was a floral replica of the traditional caravan that Thomas and Helen had travelled to Waterford to buy on the day of the triple tragedy.

Another was in the shape of a red race car with 'No 9' and the twins' names.

Requiem Mass will take place at noon today. The twins will be buried in Charleville cemetery while Jonathan will be buried with his maternal grandparents in Kilmallock, Co Limerick.

Fr Naughton said the entire community was numbed by the scale of the tragedy.

"It is absolutely unimaginable. The death of any children in a situation like this is not a natural thing." He said the local community was doing its best to rally around to support the devastated family.

The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, urged people to pray for the family and their friends. "Such loss of human life is extremely difficult to comprehend. I pray that the Lord will strengthen the family during this terrible time," Dr Crean said.

"I also ask the priests and people of the diocese to pray for Thomas and Helen, for their surviving children, their extended family, and for the community of Charleville."

A special guard of honour will be provided by Banogue national school where the twins were popular third-class students.

Meanwhile, gardai are continuing their investgations into the circumstances that led to the murder-suicide.

They fear Jonathan O'Driscoll may have been planning the murders for months.

Violent

Despite initial indications that the murder-suicide may have been triggered by a moment of madness, detectives now believe that Jonathan had been planning a violent outlet for his growing personal problems for some time.

He was on bail over the court issue which involved a minor Road Traffic Act matter and possession of a Stanley knife.

Critical to the investigation will be the analysis of mobile phone records.

Jonathan's mobile phone was recovered from his car in Buttevant. No note was discovered.

Gardai are now examining all calls made from the phone and the texts both received and sent.

Jonathan made at least two calls to his family last Thursday - one to check that he was to collect the twins after school and another to ensure that his parents were heading to Waterford as planned.

Irish Independent