Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Brothers die in 'murder-suicide'

Garda in County Sligo are investigating after two males, believed to be brothers, were found dead
Garda in County Sligo are investigating after two males, believed to be brothers, were found dead

Two brothers have been found dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

Nine-year-old Brandon Skeffington was found with stab wounds at the family home built by his father Shane in rural Sligo yesterday evening.

The body of his older brother Shane junior, aged 21, was found shortly after in a shed next to the property in the townland of Banada, Tourlestrane near Tubbercurry.

The close-knit community was said to have been devastated by the double tragedy.

Gardai said the younger of the two brothers was found inside the two storey house at about 7.30pm last night.

After emergency services were alerted he was taken by air ambulance to Sligo Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

It is understood family members attempted to revive the younger son while the older of the two was found in the outbuilding at the rear of the property.

Jerry Lundy, a Fianna Fail councillor in the area who knows the family, appealed for them to be given time and space to deal with the tragedy.

"Banada is a quiet, rural area. Unfortunately word broke this morning of a sad, sad tragedy. All I want to say is my heartfelt sympathies go out to the parents and the family and the community," he said.

The parents, Shane senior and Carmel Skeffington, moved to the rural area when the father, described locally as a hard-working block layer, built the house more than 10 years ago.

The family are said to be well-known in the area and had come from Tubbercurry.

The parents had four children - the nine-year-old and 21-year-old who died and a teenage girl and a three-year-old boy.

It is not known if the other children were in the house at the time of the incident.

Mr Lundy added: "It's something you hear about in other countries and cities but not in a quiet rural area.

"The community are shocked. It's a sad, sad time for the parents."

Mr Lundy visited the house in the afternoon to express his condolences in person where he met officers involved in the investigation and members of the local community.

"It's a time we must give a bit of space to the family, especially the parents," he added.

"People were stunned and shocked. They were so upset that a nine-year-old and a 21-year-old both lost their lives. RIght across Banada, Tourlestrane, Tubbercurry and really all across south Sligo they were completely shocked.

"The community did say to me to offer their condolences and sympathies to the family."

Gardai said the State Pathologist's office has been called in to assist investigations into how the two deaths occurred, and the scene at the house and shed remained sealed off to allow for further forensic examinations.

The family were not in the home for the day.

The suspected murder-suicide is the only incident of the kind to occur for more than a year.

A study released last August examined 19 similar incidents over a 13 year period from January 2001 to the end of June last year.

The report by forensics student Ciara Byrne from Sligo Institute of Technology revealed on average one murder-suicide incident happens per year and it showed 46 people died in the period under review.

It found all the cases under review that involved a child also involved a parent. It also showed that men are much more likely to be the perpetrator in similar incidents.

The Skeffington family home where the tragedy unfolded yesterday was built by the father, who has worked in the building trade for most of his life.

It is a few miles off the N17, the main Sligo/Galway road in a rural part of west Sligo.

Gardai remained at the scene throughout the day.

Detectives leading the investigation are not seeking anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Post-mortem examinations on the two brothers were carried out at Sligo hospital.

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