Belfast Telegraph

Father 'falls apart' and admits killings to detectives

By Paul Williams, Caroline Crawford and Cormac McQuinn

The father of murdered Eoghan and Ruairi Chada has admitted he strangled his sons to death.

Sanjeev Chada, who was arrested by detectives yesterday, is understood to have "fallen apart" while being questioned and confessed to what he had done.

It has also emerged that the boys were killed at Ballintubber Abbey, not far from Westport, Co Mayo.

A senior source said: "He has not offered any kind of excuse for what happened... Mr Chada has admitted that he is responsible for the deaths of his sons."

The bodies of Eoghan (10) and Ruairi (5) were discovered in the boot of Mr Chada's crashed car, four miles from Westport, on Monday. Last night the two boys were on their final journey home, carried by a hearse together in two white coffins.

Evidence has emerged that Eoghan struggled desperately with his father before he was killed, but gardai would not divulge the injuries suffered by him or his younger sibling.

Mr Chada, whose period of detention was extended last night, was being "very co-operative" and gardai said they were satisfied with progress in the investigation so far.

It is understood that while officers have obtained a full admission from the 43-year-old, they still have to put various items of evidence to him.

The boys' funeral will take place tomorrow and their mother, Mr Chada's wife Kathleen, is relieved to bring their bodies home, according to close friends.

Earlier, the family broke their silence with Kathleen's mother, Patsy Murphy, contacting a local radio station to thank the community for its support during their grief.

In a brief text message, she wrote: "All I can say is thank you all for your support at this traumatic time."

The boys went missing with Mr Chada after leaving the family home in Ballinkillen, near Bagenalstown, on Sunday evening.

Gardai also confirmed that they knew the route taken by Mr Chada to Westport after he left the Co Carlow village.

It is understood that he slept in the family's green Ford Focus with his two boys overnight in the Castlebar area, before they were murdered.

Eoghan and Ruairi were strangled around six hours before the car crash happened at 3.25pm on Monday.

Mr Chada, who was wearing his seat-belt, had a noose around his neck when motorists came to his aid after ploughing into a wall.

A new crime scene is being opened at Ballintubber Abbey, where the boys were killed.

Mr Chada was arrested at 12.30pm yesterday after being discharged from Castlebar hospital, where he was treated for superficial injuries sustained in the crash.

Medics also assessed whether he was in a fit mental state to be interviewed.

He left the hospital via the back entrance in a wheelchair and was immediately arrested by three detectives. He was taken to Westport Garda station where he remained overnight.

The bodies of the young brothers were released from Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar yesterday afternoon.

Relatives of the children, who drove to Mayo earlier in the week, accompanied the bodies home to Ballinkillen and the devastated community awaiting them.

Their remains received a Garda escort from the hospital.

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