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Co Cork twins (9) were stabbed '40 times each' during frenzied attack by brother who took his own life

Inquest hears graphic details of how young boys died

By Ralph Riegel

Published 19/08/2015

Patrick and Tommy O'Driscoll
Patrick and Tommy O'Driscoll

Two nine-year-old twin boys who died in a frenzied knife attack by their older brother sustained a total of 40 stab wounds each.

The revelation came at the Cork coroner's inquest into the deaths of Jonathan (21), Patrick (9) and Thomas (9) O'Driscoll last September.

The bodies of the twins were found at their Deerpark home in Charleville, Co Cork on September 4, 2014 while the body of their older brother, Jonathan, was found several hours later in a forest outside Buttevant.

Jonathan, who was adopted, apparently took his own life less than an hour after the fatal stabbing of his twin brothers, Patrick ‘Paddy’ and Thomas ‘Tom Tom’.

The twins were discovered with multiple fatal stab wounds in separate bedrooms at their Deerpark home just a couple of hours after Jonathan had collected them from school.

The inquest heard that Jonathan had doted on the twin boys.

Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, confirmed to the inquest that each twin had suffered more than 40 stab wounds, many defensive in nature.

The stab wounds involved penetrating wounds to the aorta, jugular, heart and both lungs - and neither twin would have been able to survive the injuries.

In one case, a stab wound penetrated one of the twins to a depth of 7cm.

One stab wound involved the knife going right through one of the twin's arms.

The inquest has heard that Jonathan had a history of mental health problems, all of which dated from after a motor accident he was involved in back in November 2012.


The young man appeared very worried about his health, complained of feeling depressed and having suicidal thoughts.

He was placed on anti-depressants but at no stage exhibited any homicidal indicators.

The young man was also very down about the failure of a number of relationships with young women.

He was also deeply frustrated at being unable to access full details of his birth family.

The young man’s inability to obtain full details of his adoption file became a source of enormous upset to him.

Tragically, his mother, Helen, received a letter from a state agency, addressed to Jonathan, just four days after his death saying the adoption file was being opened.


The inquest has also heard that, when his body was found, Jonathan had left a total of five notes.

Near his body, in the bed of the River Awbeg, gardai recovered two knives.

Helen and her husband, Thomas, were away from Deerpark that day purchasing a miniature pony-pulled caravan for the twins as their 10th birthday present.

Jonathan had agreed to collect the twins from school and supervise them until his parents returned home.

The first indication of something being tragically wrong was when the three boys' younger brother, Jimmy (5), ran to a neighbour's house and said that Jonathan was after attacking the twins.

Neighbours were horrified to discover blood in the hall and bedroom of the O'Driscoll's Deerpark home and rang both Gardai and the Republic's health service, the HSE.

Jonathan's adopted parents, Thomas and Helen, are attending the inquest before Coroner Dr Michael Kennedy.

The inquest, being staged in Mallow Courthouse, continues.

Irish Independent

Irish Independent

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