Belfast Telegraph

Mystery person claims ashes of bigamist conwoman Julia Holmes, found dead with her husband

By Maeve Sheehan

The ashes of the bigamist and Northern Ireland conwoman known as Julia Holmes have been reclaimed from a crematorium by a mystery mourner.

The swindler, who committed a string of frauds in several countries using many aliases, was found dead alongside her husband, Thomas Ruttle, last month in an upstairs room at his farmhouse near Limerick in a suspected suicide pact.

Her final wish was to be buried alongside the man she called her husband, a local farmer and beekeeper whom she had met on the internet.

But while Thomas Ruttle was laid to rest at the St Mary's Church of Ireland in Limerick, her body remained unclaimed in the morgue at the city's University Hospital for almost two weeks.

She was disowned by her son, whom she had abandoned as a baby. He refused to bury her. Her remains were eventually taken to the Island Crematorium in Cork where she was cremated last Wednesday.

However, someone has taken pity on Ms Holmes (63), who was originally from Ballynahinch, Co Down.

Her ashes were collected and are believed to have been returned to Askeaton, a town in Co Limerick. The local funeral director Kieran Madigan declined to disclose by whom.

Her son, Paul, said last month that he wanted nothing to do with her and would not be going to her funeral.

"I never wanted anything to do with the person I know as Celia McKitterick, who is also known as Julia Holmes and by many other false names," he said.

Julia Holmes is thought to be one of 20 aliases used by the woman who was born Celia McKitterick in Co Down. The three-times married but never divorced mother had also lived in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

She gave birth to a son, whom she abandoned at the age of six months. She left him to be raised by her grandparents while she later moved to the US, where she married a Texan without divorcing her first husband.

When she met Thomas Ruttle in 2011, she was a convicted fugitive fraudster who was the subject of PSNI, Garda and FBI investigations.

She married him bigamously, and capitalised on his beekeeping to run a market stall and fraudulently passed off commercially produced honey as her own artisan product.

She used different aliases, claimed she was pregnant and miscarried, and that she had terminal cancer.

Burglars who broke into the farmhouse on May 18 discovered the badly decomposed bodies on a double bed. The thieves alerted the police to their horror find.

Gardai still don't know how the couple died and toxicology reports are expected to take another couple of weeks.

Belfast Telegraph


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