A MUM-of-four was beaten to death with a lump hammer in an apparent murder-suicide.
Marie Quigley (68) suffered a violent death at her home in Hackballscross, Co Louth, just before her husband was killed after driving the wrong way on the M1.
The body of Mrs Quigley was found by her son at her home just before 4pm yesterday.
Sources said that Kieran Quigley had gone to meet his father, but instead found the house quiet and the upstairs bedroom locked and curtains drawn.
He then called his cousin to help him break down the bedroom door and the pair found the body of Mrs Quigley, who had suffered serious head injuries.
Moments later, when gardai arrived at the house to inform Ms Quigley of the death of her husband, Jim, they found the distressing scene.
“I have never seen anything like it,” a source told the Herald.
The couple had five children – Kieran, who also lived in Hackballscross, Gavin who lives in Cork, Mark who is currently in Canada and Sonya, who lives in Newbridge.
A fifth child, the couple’s son Aidan, died in a drowning accident when he was nine-years-old.
The crash on the M1 occurred at 2pm as Mr Quigley, driving the wrong way, collided with another car and a lorry.
Three other people were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening
injuries and the crash led to long traffic delays as gardai closed the motorway for a technical examination.
Locals at Rathmore, near Hackballscross, said that while Mr Quigley was “quite friendly”, he was known to have battled with mental health problems.
“He suffered with depression and could get very down in himself,” one local said. “It’s such a terrible tragedy for all concerned.”
Alice Lynch, a life-long neighbour and friend of the family, said that the community was devastated.
“If there was one word I could use to describe Marie and Jim, it would be unique,” she said.
“They were a devoted couple who did everything together, they were extremely loyal to one another and it was an absolute shock to hear the news.
“I stayed up all night last night trying to come to terms with it. They were a lovely couple, very quiet, who just went about their business.
“Marie was a very impressive woman – if the family were happy, then she was happy. It just shows you never know what might happen. To say I’m shocked is an understatement.” Local priest Gerry Campbell told the Herald that the tragedy has come as a “huge shock” to the community.
“We cannot even begin to imagine what the family are going through at this time,” he said.
“All that we can do now as a community is rally around the four children and do what we can to comfort them at this time.
“There is a large extended family there, but it is in the time and weeks to come that they will all really need our help.”