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Tipperary tragedy: ‘Gardaí believe woman found dead with husband died of illness’

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The house in Cloneen where the bodies were found. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The house in Cloneen where the bodies were found. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The house in Cloneen where the bodies were found. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The woman found dead alongside her husband in their Tipperary home last Monday died from an illness, but the exact medical cause of her death will never be uncovered, gardaí believe.

Officers are satisfied Nicholas Smith (81) died from natural causes and are working on the theory his wife Hilary (79) died from an illness, according to an informed source.

However, because a significant period had passed before the English couple’s bodies were found, investigators say the exact cause of Mrs Smith’s death is medically inconclusive and may never be established.

It is believed the bodies of the tragic couple may have lain undiscovered for up to 18 months.

The case has puzzled locals in the rural area of Cloneen, between Fethard and Mullinahone, as they had been told the couple were moving to France during the pandemic.

Gardaí have also been in contact with police in the UK to try to find any relatives of the Smiths but to date have not been able to identify a next of kin.

A central element of the garda investigation is why the bodies were found in different rooms of the bungalow.

Detectives ruled out a suicide pact and a murder-suicide after the post mortem examination showed Mr Smith died from natural causes.

The property was fully secured when gardaí called at 4pm last Monday.

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Although locals had been told the couple were moving abroad, a man who lived nearby had become concerned at the unkempt nature of the house — and the fact the couple’s car had not been moved for over 12 months.

There was no sign of forced entry and no indication of any disturbance. A careful search yielded no weapons or anything to indicate foul play.

The body of Mr Smith was found in the bedroom. However, the remains of his wife were found just up the hallway in the sitting room. Blinds were drawn in the rooms involved.



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