Belfast Telegraph

Murder-suicide brothers are to be buried separately

By Ralph Riegel

The twin boys who died at the hands of their older brother will be buried in their Holy Communion outfits.

Patrick 'Paddy' and Thomas 'TomTom' O'Driscoll (9) began their final journey last night - accompanied by Jonathan who stabbed them to death last week.

Police in the Republic now fear that the 21-year-old may have been planning the murder-suicide for months. It is believed that he acquired the knife used in the attack more than a week before the tragedy.

He was on medication for mental health difficulties, had become obsessed with finding his birth mother and was also troubled over an upcoming court case.

Thomas and Helen O'Driscoll had to be physically supported by relatives as the coffins of their three sons were taken from O'Malley's funeral home to the Church of the Holy Cross in Charleville, Co Cork.

More than 300 people gathered with the sombre cortege led by curate Fr Tom Naughton, who has prayed with the family every day since the triple tragedy last Thursday.

The nine-year-olds died from multiple stab wounds sustained in separate attacks in two different rooms at the family's home at Deerpark on the Cork-Limerick road. They made their First Holy Communion only a few months ago – and they will now be buried in the suits of which they were so proud.

Their older brother, Jonathan, was discovered dead in woodland just outside Buttevant, some 15km away. He had taken his own life.

The three brothers yesterday lay in repose, side by side, at O'Malley's funeral home at the New Line, Charleville, from 1.30pm to 4pm.

All three white coffins were open and the extended O'Driscoll family formed a semi-circle around the remains in the funeral home. Hundreds queued throughout the day to pay their respects and support the devastated family.

At 4.30pm mourners walked beside the two hearses from the funeral home down to Charleville's Main Street. The three coffins were brought to the O'Driscoll family home accompanied only by immediate family members.

The coffins were then brought into the Church of the Holy Cross along with a pick-up truck full of flowers and wreaths. One wreath was a floral replica of the traditional caravan that Thomas and Helen had travelled to Waterford to buy on the day of the triple tragedy. Another was in the shape of a red race car with 'No 9' and the twins' names.

Requiem Mass will take place at noon today. The twins will be buried in Charleville cemetery while Jonathan will be buried with his maternal grandparents in Kilmallock, Co Limerick.

Fr Naughton said the entire community was numbed by the scale of the tragedy. "It is absolutely unimaginable. The death of any children in a situation like this is not a natural thing."

He said the local community was doing its best to rally around to support the devastated family.

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