PHILIP Wood struggled to cash a €30 cheque in the weeks prior to shooting dead his Irish wife and daughter, before taking his own life.
Neighbours say the family were recently visited by debt collectors at their home in Spain.
Philip (64), his wife Sheila (54) and their daughter Sophie (27), who had special needs, had fallen on hard times some 10 years after they "made a fortune" selling their family home in Ireland.
The former financial adviser left a note at the scene in a bid to explain his actions. Sheila Wood was originally from Ferbane, Co Offaly. The family lived in nearby Tullamore for some time where locals said Philip worked for AIB.
It is understood they also lived in Mount Merrion in Dublin, before moving to Spain 10 years ago. Their landlord discovered the three bodies – Philip's on a front-room sofa and his wife's and daughter's under sheets in their beds – after going to claim rent on Wednesday.
POLICE HAVE ALREADY SAID THERE WERE NO SIGNS OF A FORCED ENTRY AT THE FAMILY'S FOUR-BED HOUSE IN MIJAS COSTA, BETWEEN MARBELLA AND MALAGA.
Sources admitted everything was pointing towards a double murder and suicide but said they had not ruled out other theories, including the possibility Mr Wood committed two "mercy killings".
Autopsies took place yesterday morning in Malaga but the results were not made public.
A source close to the case, which is now being investigated by a judge, said: "There was nothing in the autopsies to disprove the theory this was a double murder and suicide.
"A note was left but it is in the possession of the Civil Guard and will be handed over to the investigating judge so it can form part of his investigation."
Last night, friends and former work colleagues spoke of the problems plaguing Mr Wood.
A former work colleague, who worked with Philip at a now-defunct Costa del Sol financial advisers, said: "I only met his wife once because she suffered from chronic back problems and didn't go out much because of it.
"He was doing everything for his wife and daughter. He lost his job in April last year when the successor company of the firm he worked for closed and the directors went abroad.
"As far as I know he hadn't worked since then and I think he was struggling to make money.
"I last saw him a couple of months ago in a local supermarket. He said he was fine and seemed as stoic as always."
Craig Beck (44), who runs Raquets restaurant, where the family were regulars, noted the family's financial decline.
"He used to tell me he was an expert in Spanish tax law and said he worked for pleasure rather than out of necessity," Mr Beck said.
"A few years ago he bought a €39,000 brand-new BMW and a Mini for his wife but in recent months he was driving round in a smaller rental car.
"The last time I saw him was two weeks ago and I wondered if something was up. But then he called out of the blue asking if I could cash a cheque for €30 because he couldn't get to the bank in Marbella."