tHE parents of a little boy who was murdered by his older brother before he took his own life desperately tried to save the nine-year-old child.
Brandon Skeffington (9) was still alive when his mother and father returned home and found him bleeding heavily on the stairs at their home near Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.
And the Herald can today reveal that a 15-year-old sister of the two brothers who died was also in the house when the horrific stabbing occurred.
It is believed she did not witness the fatal knife attack on Sunday evening.
Shane Skeffington (20) had been receiving psychiatric treatment in a mental hospital just days before the tragedy happened.
He was last night described as a "ticking time-bomb" and was implicated in at least two drug-fuelled assaults before he stabbed his innocent brother Brandon to death.
The killer used a large kitchen knife from the house to stab Brandon once in the chest before their parents arrived home just before 8pm.
Little Brandon was desperately clinging to life when he was discovered by his shocked parents Carmel and Shane senior at the top of the stairs in their home.
But the horror got even worse, when Mr Skeffington discovered the body of their eldest son in a shed at the back of their property moments later. They immediately contacted emergency services.
Senior sources say that there was no premeditation in relation to the attack and that Shane was "very fond" of his younger brother.
"In fact, all the available information is that Shane thought the world of Brandon and there were no significant issues there," said a source.
Brandon was still alive when gardai called to the home and was being worked on by paramedics but tragically died later in Sligo Regional Hospital shortly after he was admitted there.
His killer Shane was to face a charge for cocaine possession. The young man had been known to gardai following minor offences in the past.
In April of this year he was fined €200 at Tubbercurry District Court after he was caught with a smoked cannabis joint.
In January he was given the probation act after he was found with €40 worth of the drug.
In March he was among a group of men who were charged with violent disorder.
However, because of his involvement in the violent disorder incident, the drugs charges were to be re-introduced at the local district court this week.
Sources say that he was a cocaine user but not known to gardai for involvement in serious crime.
His heartbroken parents attended Sligo Regional Hospital yesterday where they were briefed by senior gardai. Post mortem examinations were carried out on both brothers yesterday.
However, a garda spokesperson confirmed they were not seeking anyone else in relation to the tragic incident.
This is not the first tragedy to befall the family. They are relatives of Michael Skeffington who was jailed for killing his son at their Salford home in the UK in April 2011.