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'I was in denial for a year', says mum of kids killed by dad

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Una Butler spoke about ordeal Picture: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts Limited

Una Butler spoke about ordeal Picture: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts Limited

Una Butler spoke about ordeal Picture: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts Limited

A mum who lost her two young daughters and husband in a murder-suicide six years ago said she was numb for the first year after their deaths. She added that the support of friends and family helped keep her going after the tragedy.

Una Butler, from Cork, lost her two daughters, Zoe (6) and Ella (2), and her husband John (43) in a murder-suicide.

John had been suffering from depression and took his own life minutes after killing his little girls in the family's home in November 2010.

Una was speaking to Sean O'Rourke on RTE following the tragic murder-suicide in Cavan where Alan Hawe, his wife Clodagh and their three children Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) were found dead in their house in Ballyjamesduff on Monday morning.

She urged the local community to "be there" for the Hawe family.

"It's a very cruel, unbelievable nightmare to be living every day," Una said.

"Support of friends and family is very important. I was numb and in shock for the first 12 months, to be honest with you.

Denial

"The reality of it all only sunk in years later. First year, you're in denial and shock," she said.

Una said there had been no hints that her children's safety was at risk from their father.

"John loved his children," she said. "He had never been physically abusive to me or Zoe or Ella. He was a good father. He was a very hard worker.

"He did suffer with depression, which was quite difficult to live with, but with hindsight I'm saying I should have been involved with his treatment.

"The medical professionals would have had a better insight into his behaviour and I would have been able to learn about his illness.

"I might have been able to support him better, or be able to deal with his illness in a better way, if I had been educated about his illness."

She also called for more investigations to try and prevent similar tragedies happening in the future.

"These cases are being brushed under the carpet and being forgotten about.

"There aren't enough investigations into these cases to learn from them and to help prevent other cases from happening," she said.


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