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Mum to fly back for inquests into murder suicide

A YOUNG American mother whose husband killed their three year-old daughter before taking his own life will return to Ireland for their inquests in the new year.

The revelation came as it emerged the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the gardai have concluded their investigation into the deaths of west Cork farmer Martin McCarthy (50) and his daughter, Clarissa.

Mr McCarthy changed his will just days before drowning his daughter and then himself in the sea close to his farm at Audley Cove outside Ballydehob on March 5.


He deliberately excluded his California-born wife, Rebecca (26), 24 years his junior, from inheriting major assets, instead leaving them to family and friends.

With the DPP and Gardai investigation now over, the Cork coroner can proceed with his inquest in the deaths. It will be staged in Bantry or Skibbereen early in the new year.

Ms McCarthy moved back to California last September after being left traumatised by the bitter row over her husband's will and the tragedy that wiped out her family.

She has launched a High Court action to restore her legal entitlement to her share of the family home and farm.

The legal action was signalled on July 2 last and strenuous efforts to reach a settlement over July and August failed.

Renewed attempts to negotiate a compromise settlement in October also failed.

The matter is now set to proceed to hearing in 2014.

Ms McCarthy is also taking action against his estate for trauma and distress caused by the loss of her daughter.

A friend of Ms McCarthy, whose maiden name is Rebecca Bailey-Cejnar, confirmed to the Herald that she remains in California but will return to west Cork for the inquest after Christmas.

"She is coping, but it has been a terrible time for her. Christmas will be particularly difficult without Clarissa.

"But Rebecca is determined to return to Ireland for the inquests and offer every possible assistance to the coroner," the friend said.


Locals were shocked by the Herald's revelation that Mr McCarthy had effectively written his wife out of his will.

Friends of Mr McCarthy also said they were "appalled" by some media coverage of the tragedy, including the incorrect claim by one UK paper that Mr McCarthy was Protestant while Rebecca was Catholic.

"Martin and Rebecca were both Catholic. No-one understands why religion was suddenly being dragged into the tragedy," one neighbour added.

The couple first met when Rebecca was a 16-year-old student at Schull Community School a decade ago.