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Couple deaths cause still unknown

Published 18/05/2015

A coroner's car containing one of the bodies leaves a farmhouse in the townland of Boolaglass after a couple were found dead
A coroner's car containing one of the bodies leaves a farmhouse in the townland of Boolaglass after a couple were found dead

Tests on a couple found dead in a farmhouse have failed to confirm how they died, gardai said.

Detectives had been awaiting post mortems to establish if the woman is a suspected fraudster, Julia Holmes, who is wanted by the PSNI.

The pair were discovered in the bedroom of the house in the townland of Boolaglass between Rathkeale and Askeaton in Co Limerick at about 3am this morning.

It is believed they had been dead for a number of weeks as their bodies were said to be badly decomposing.

A Garda spokesman tonight said: "A post mortem examination has concluded on the bodies of the man and woman found this morning at Askeaton, Co Limerick and no cause of death has been established as yet. Further testing is now required and this may take some days. The bodies have yet to be positively identified."

The dead man, believed to be aged in his mid-50s, was named locally as Thomas Ruttle.

The small roadside farmhouse was the Ruttle family home with members of the extended family well known and well respected in the area, local representatives said.

Investigations are now centring on whether the dead woman, believed to be aged in her early 60s, was Holmes, a fraudster who is alleged to have used scores of aliases and was wanted by police in Northern Ireland after failing to turn up to court in 2011 for sentencing for £18,000 frauds.

Holmes had been suspected of moving to the Galway region after failing to turn up for the hearing in Newtownards and more recently was thought to have based herself in Co Limerick.

It is also understood she was deported from the US in 2006 over a property sales and investment scam in Texas.

The PSNI said it was aware of the incident in Limerick.

It is understood the couple had not been seen for several weeks.

A firearm was discovered in the farmhouse.

The scene of the discovery in the isolated farmhouse was sealed off to allow for preliminary forensic examinations with the State Pathologist's office called in and post mortems planned for later.

Gardai appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to contact them at Newcastle West station in Co Limerick.

Emmett O'Brien, independent councillor in the area, said: "The extended Ruttle family would have been highly respected in the local community," he said.

"People are in a state of shock, it is not something that would happen in the area. It's an agricultural hinterland, picturesque and tranquil."

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