Belfast Telegraph

Village shocked by murder-suicide

The body of a man who had just murdered his ex-girlfriend was discovered by a family friend as she spoke to his disabled mother on the phone, it has emerged.

Robert Hartrey shot dead mother-of-two Sarah Regan before turning a gun he borrowed from a friend on himself.

The murder-suicide has shocked residents in the rural village of Cloonfad, Co Roscommon, and left five distraught children without a parent.

Detectives are trying to piece together what drove the unemployed construction worker to carry out the tragic gun attack on Friday night.

Ms Regan, 30, and Mr Hartrey, 45, had been together for about two years before breaking up several weeks ago.

A family friend drove Mr Hartrey from his home in Grangemockler, Co Tipperary, to Cloonfad where he arranged to meet Ms Regan to pick up some of his belongings. It is understood the dad-of-three left the friend in a pub and said he would be back in half an hour, but did not return.

"She went to look for him and was talking to his mother on the phone when she saw his car, opened it and found him in it," said a local resident. "They are in shock."

Mr Hartrey's body was discovered in his silver Volkswagen Passat in the car park of the local national school at Cloonfad, which borders Co Mayo and Co Galway, just after midnight.

Shortly after at 1.30am Ms Regan, mother of 11-year-old Shannon, and Dylan, aged eight, was discovered in another silver Volkswagen Passat at Springvale.

Mr Hartrey's mother Kathleen, who is blind, and his siblings Ann Marie and Frank are said to be devastated by the tragedy.

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