Belfast Telegraph

Killer dad depressed about not having job

A grandmother yesterday spoke of her family's shock after the murder of her daughter's children at the hands of her crazed husband.

Zoe (7) and Ella (2) Butler were strangled by their father, John Butler (41). Minutes later he doused himself in petrol before crashing his car on the outskirts of Ballycotton village in east Cork. He died in the subsequent fireball.

It is now believed that Mr Butler had been depressed and increasingly frustrated over his inability to secure new employment, having lost his job over a year ago.

Yesterday, Mary O'Riordan said the terrible events of the past 24 hours and the death of her two grand-daughters was simply “too shocking for words”.

“We're all in shock, no one can believe it,” she said.

“They were such beautiful children, they would call to see us a lot. I cannot believe they are gone. It is all such a shock, they were such lovely children. They were always smiling and happy,” she said.

Zoe had already been excitedly preparing for Christmas and had been making out her present list for Santa Claus.

Mary's husband Don was too upset to speak yesterday.

The children’s mother Una had left the family home at 8am on Tuesday to go to work and was horrified when gardai contacted her shortly after 10am to break the news that her husband and two children were dead.

Una's sisters raced to be by her side and escorted her back to Ballycotton from Cork.

Four years ago the family lost Una's brother Michael after he suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident.

Belfast Telegraph

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