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Murder-suicide theory after Co Louth husband and wife die

Published 27/07/2015

Gardai went to the house where the body was found
Gardai went to the house where the body was found

A husband and wife killed in separate incidents several hours apart may have died in a murder-suicide.

The dead man, aged in his early 70s, died on the M1 motorway after driving the wrong way down the northbound carriageway near the exit for Ardee in Co Louth.

About 30km away at his home, in the Kilkerley area just outside Dundalk, his wife was found dead in an upstairs bedroom.

The woman, aged in her 60s, was believed to have suffered head injuries.

Gardai called to the well-kept family home on the Carrickmacross Road at about 3.45pm where one of the couple's sons met them and the discovery was made.

It is understood one line of inquiry detectives are examining is whether the man killed his wife in the house before taking his own life and injuring three others in the motorway pile-up.

His car, a silver Ford Fusion, was in collision with a truck and another car between between junctions 14 and 15 of the M1 at about 2pm.

The driver and two passengers in the other car were injured and taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where their injuries were described as non life-threatening.

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein TD for Louth, expressed sympathy to the family.

"I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the families and friends of two people killed in tragic circumstances in separate incidents near Hackballscross and on the M1 near Ardee today. My thoughts are with all those affected at this sad time," he said.

The family are a well established and well-known family in the Kilkerley area of Louth having lived there for generations.

The couple had several adult children and one son is living in Canada.

Tomas Sharkey, a local Sinn Fein councillor, said there had been a huge outpouring of grief following the incidents.

"The immediate and wider family are in everybody's thoughts in the local area," he said.

"Everybody wants to offer them their sympathies at this time but also the privacy and respect they need at this stage. It's the tragedy of losing two family in one day, they have that loss and grief to deal with."

If the suspicion of murder-suicide is confirmed in this case, it will be the latest incident of its kind since the end of last year.

Michael Greaney, 51, and his wife Valerie, 49, were found dead at their house at O'Neill Place in Cobh a few days after Christmas.

In September last year, twin boys Thomas and Patrick O'Driscoll, aged nine, were found dead in their home on the edge of Charleville, north Cork, following a murder-suicide involving an older sibling.

Within an hour of the discovery their older sibling Jonathan, in his early 20s, was found dead about 15km away in a wooded area by a river just outside the town of Buttevant.

Elsewhere, two brothers died at their home in rural Sligo in July last year - nine-year-old Brandon Skeffington was found with stab wounds in the family home at Banada, Tourlestrane near Tubbercurry, before the body of his elder brother Shane junior, 21, was found in a shed beside the property.

At the time it was the first murder-suicide to occur in Ireland for more than a year.

A study examining 19 similar incidents of murder-suicide over a 13-year period from January 2001 to the end of June last year found that on average one murder-suicide incident happens per year and 46 people died in the period under review.

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