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Double murder-suicide in Cork: Garda Ombudsman will investigate

CORK: The Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is investigating the Cork double murder-suicide. The GSOC is reviewing the incident following reports that Gardai had been contacted by a local, hours before the incident. It is learned that a dispute over money and income was behind the incident.

The brothers contacted Gardai by phone on Thursday evening. The brothers assured Mitchelstown Gardaí that the differences had been amicably settled and that Gardai no longer needed to come to the farm. The gardai then decided not to patrol there. The 25 acre family farm in Corragorm is located 8km from the north Cork town.

At no point did anyone share the concern that there was a threat, a disagreement with understanding or a sign of violence. However, hours later, the bodies of Willie (66) and Paddy ‘Pa’ Hennessy (60) were found at the farm. A relative called Gardai to inform them that Paddy had not returned to his home in Mitchelstown. A third brother, Johnny Hennessy (59), was later found in the River Funshion.

Money and land ownership disputes were behind the tragedy

Gardai confirmed that the dispute over land ownership and income was the cause of the conflict. Paddy had a heart attack before Christmas. He has not been able to do even a small job since then. He also suspended his tire business for 30 years. When he recovered, he wanted to return to his normal working day with the family farm.

His wish was supported by his elder brother Willie. But Johnny opposed this because the income would have to be split. According to local sources, Johnny was also opposed to splitting the proceeds from the sale of cattle into three parts. Gardai received a phone call indicating Johnny’s disagreement.

Gardai investigates whether Johnny was in financial trouble or isolated from the villagers or affected by the COVID-19 restrictions before attacking brothers Willie and Paddy. Mental health issues are also being investigated.

Murder and drowning confirmed

The three brothers were post-mortemed by Dr. Margaret Bolster, Locum State Pathologist at Cork University Hospital (CUH). The post-mortem revealed that Willie and Pa were killed by a continuous blows to the head with an axe. A blood-stained axe was found a short distance from where their bodies were found. It has been confirmed that Johnny died from drowning.

GSOC Inquiry

A GSOC spokesman confirmed that the incident was being reviewed. “GSOC received a referral on Friday from a Garda Superintendent related to possible contact between An Garda Síochána and one of the deceased prior to the incident. The referral was made under Section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005. The matter is now under examination by GSOC,” the spokesman said.

Pa was found with serious head injuries in the farmyard where the brothers operated a firewood business and raised dry cattle. Willie was found with similar injuries in a nearby shed. Both suffered serious head injuries following repeated struck with an axe. Both brothers died at the scene. The body of Johnny (59), a third brother who lived in the farmhouse, was discovered in a river nearby.

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