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Conwoman Julia Holmes told string of lies to her US stepdaughters

By Robin Schiller

Published 10/06/2015

A US stepdaughter of Julia Holmes says she told her that her Irish family died in a house fire
A US stepdaughter of Julia Holmes says she told her that her Irish family died in a house fire

The stepdaughters of Northern Ireland conwoman Julia Holmes, who was found dead next to her partner last month, have said that she had no conscience.

The 63-year-old's body was discovered beside her partner Tom Ruttle in Askeaton, Co Limerick, three weeks ago.

Two US women, who were raised as stepdaughters by Holmes while she was married to their father Clyde, have spoken of how she told them lies from the very start.

Holmes, who was originally from Ballynahinch, Co Down, mixed in high circles while she lived in Texas, USA, joining the Republican Party and meeting former vice-President Dan Quayle, as well as actor Patrick Swayze.

However, behind the facade of meeting powerful politicians and famous actors she was a con artist who defrauded local businesses.

"She said she was from Ireland and that her family back in Ireland had died in a house fire," Rosalyn Frazier said of Holmes, who she had known for over 20 years.

"That's not the story I got," Kimberly Parrish-Sanders said. "I was told there were two brothers left and their wives and children.

"And that she did have a son and he had died of cancer at the age of 13. In actual fact, I believe her son is four years older than me, I believe he is 44 now.

"She was a chameleon, why didn't she use that to do well ­- to build an empire? She would have been the most successful person you've ever met, had she put her talents to good use," Kimberly told RTE's Prime Time.

The three-times married but never divorced mother had also lived in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

Julia Holmes' American dream eventually came to an end in the Federal courthouse in Tyler, Texas, in 2004. She pleaded guilty to defrauding people of over $500,000 and spent 27 months in prison before being deported back to Ireland.

Known by at least 40 different aliases, including Julia Ruttle, she was being sought by the PSNI at the time of her death in relation to a £18,000 fraud she perpetrated in Northern Ireland in 2009.

She absconded in 2011 while she was still facing charges.

Julia continued her fraudulent ways south of the border, conning several locals and business in Co Limerick.

Neither she nor her partner Tom had been seen for several weeks in the Askeaton area.

The pair were eventually discovered at a farmhouse belonging to Ruttle by two would-be burglars.

It is believed the pair poisoned themselves in an apparent suicide pact.

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