| 17.9°C Dublin

Death rips apart Kerrigan family

The father of American figure skating icon Nancy Kerrigan (pictured) has been found dead and her brother is behind bars, accused of assault and battery against 70-year-old Daniel Kerrigan.

Mr Kerrigan died on Sunday after being taken by emergency services from his family home in Stoneham, Massachusetts, to a hospital, authorities said. His son Mark, 45, was arraigned on Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from an alleged assault on his father. Police responded to a 911 call at around 1.30am on Sunday from Brenda Kerrigan, wife of Daniel and mother to Mark and former figure skater Nancy.

There was a violent argument and struggle between the father and his son, resulting in the elder Kerrigan collapsing on the kitchen floor. Mark Kerrigan told authorities that he "did in fact have an argument with his father, the argument became physical, he grabbed his father around the neck, and at some point the father collapsed to the floor".

The medical examiner is set to release a report in a couple of weeks.

Police found Mark Kerrigan in the basement of the house, "clearly intoxicated" and "extremely combative". He refused to comply with police officers and they had to subdue him with pepper spray before forcibly removing him from the home.

Kerrigan wept softly during Monday's arraignment. His attorney, Denise Moore, told the judge that her client was in grief and "quite distraught about his father's death".

Through his attorney, Mr Kerrigan denied any responsibility in the death.

Unemployed Kerrigan was recently released from a correctional facility and was living at home with his parents. He is taking medication and seeking psychological help for post-traumatic stress, apparently from his time in the army.

Despite appeals from his attorney, Kerrigan has been held on a $10,000 cash bail. His next court appearance is expected to be February 24.

Nancy Kerrigan first gained prominence by winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. In 1994 she earned an Olympic silver medal in Lillehammer, Norway. But she is perhaps best remembered for surviving an attack, before the 1994 Winter Games, by skating rival Tanya Harding's ex-husband and an accomplice.