Sunday 15 September 2019

Exact cause of mother and son's deaths 'inconclusive' as police confirm murder-suicide investigation

* Homicide detectives not looking for anyone else
* Community in London and Mayo left in shock
* Family have suffered much in recent years
* Young mum had built successful career

Sinéad Higgins with her son Oisín O'Driscoll
A property on The Fairway in Ruislip where the bodies of a woman and a boy were discovere. Photo credit: Ben Cawthra/LNP
Spider-Man curtains and a pair of small shoes hang in the window of a property on The Fairway in Ruislip where the bodies of a woman and a boy were discovered. Photo: Ben Cawthra/LNP

Cathal McMahon and Allison Bray

Detectives investigating the deaths of an Irish mother and her son are satisfied that their deaths are "consistent with a murder suicide".

However a post-mortem on the bodies of Sinéad Higgins, aged 37, and her son Oisín O'Driscoll (7) has failed to establish the exact cause of death.

Flowers and a message left outside the house. Photo: Ben Cawthra/LNP
Flowers and a message left outside the house. Photo: Ben Cawthra/LNP

The pair were discovered dead at their home in Ruislip, West London on Wednesday after concerns were raised for their welfare.

In a statement, released this evening, the London Metropolitan police confirmed that an autopsy was carried out at Uxbridge Mortuary.

"Cause of deaths was inconclusive. Officers await further toxicology tests," the statement confirmed.

"Following the post-mortem examinations, detectives are satisfied that the deaths are consistent with a murder and a suicide.

"At this stage, nobody else is sought in connection with the two deaths."

Mayo native Sinéad seemed to have had the world at her feet.

A fully qualified nurse, she had recently retrained as a lawyer and was working for a medical negligence company as a legal adviser.

She had moved from her home in Westport, Co Mayo, to pursue a successful career in London over a decade ago. It is understood she was not in a relationship with Oisín's father at the time of her death.

Sinead Higgins. Picture: Twitter
Sinead Higgins. Picture: Twitter

Sinéad proudly posted photos of Oisín's achievements in life on her social media accounts - including a video of his seventh birthday just 10 weeks ago, when he received a Superman-themed birthday card and thanked his mother.

However, tragedy was just around the corner.

Her own family in Mayo has suffered much in recent years.

Sinéad, one of 10 children, lost her father Thomas Higgins (68) to cancer in August 2014, while her brother Cathal (19) was killed in a motorcycle crash in May, 2004.

Cathal died just months after he was the pallbearer at the funeral of local girl Aisling McGing (18), who was his date at his debs ball.

Sinéad's mother Mary still lives in the family home in Arderry, but it is understood that the remaining siblings are scattered in various places around the globe, including Sinéad's brothers Des, Barna, Micheál, David, Donal and Fintan, and sisters Gina, Deirdre and Sharon.

Discovery

The bodies of Sinéad Higgins and her seven-year-old son Oisín were discovered after police forced their way into a house in London.

Officers were called to a house in The Fairway, Ruislip, west London, at around 10.50am on Wednesday over welfare concerns for the Co Mayo woman and her son.

The bodies of Sinéad and the young boy were discovered inside, the Metropolitan Police said.

Residents told the Evening Standard that Ms Higgins had been living in London for two years.

Detective inspector Dave Bolton, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "The investigation is at a very early stage but inquiries so far lead us to believe there is a likelihood that the tragic events that led to the deaths do not involve a third party.

"We are appealing to anyone who has any information to come and speak with us."

Neighbour Barbara Lonnon told the Evening Standard that she had spoken to the mother about a month ago.

She said: "She kept herself to herself but we'd speak if we saw each other on the street.

"She was Irish and had lived here for two years. I met her in her first summer here."

Ms Lonnon added: "She was Irish originally and all her family were there.

"I never really spoke to her son Oisin, he was seven and ran around like little boys do. He was a friendly chap and it’s so sad his life has been cut short."

A post-mortem examination is scheduled to take place at Fulham mortuary today.

The community of Aughagower in Westport has been reeling in shock over news of the deaths.

Ms Higgins’ mother Mary, still lives in the family home in Arderry, but it’s understood that the remaining siblings are scattered in various places around the globe, including Sinead’s brothers Des, Barna, Micheál, David, Donal, Fintan and sisters Gina, Deirdre and Sharon.

“It’s desperate. Everyone is shocked,” the neighbour told Independent.ie.

If you have been affected by issues in this article, you can free-phone the Samaritans on 116 123. Pieta House can be contacted on 1800 247 247.  For more information on Pieta House and its services visit www.pieta.ie.

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