News

Man (20) stabs brother (9) to death and then kills himself

Valerie Robinson Southern Correspondent newsdesk@irishnews.com

A RURAL west of Ireland community is in shock after a nine-year-old schoolboy was stabbed to death by his older brother who then took his own life.

Primary school pupil Brandon Skeffington was discovered by his parents at the family home in the small village of Banada in Toulestrane, near Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, at about 7.30pm on Sunday.

The frantic couple alerted emergency services and Brandon was rushed to Sligo Regional Hospital by air ambulance but doctors were unable to save his life.

The body of his 20-year-old brother Shane was discovered in an outside shed yards from the Skeffingtons' detached home.

Gardai described the brothers' deaths as a "tragedy".

They believe that Shane attacked Brandon with a knife before fleeing the house as his brother lay dying. The young man then took his own life in the shed.

Investigators at Tubbercurry Garda Station said that although they are investigating "all the circumstances" of the deaths they are not looking for anyone else.

Gardai fear they may never know what happened to cause Shane to stab Brandon.

The brothers were the sons of Shane Skeffington snr and his wife Carmel Healy Skeffington, who are both in their forties and have been married since May 2000.

The couple have four children. Their only daughter Sharon (15) is a student at St Attracta's Community School in Tubbercurry and is a keen Gaelic footballer, while their youngest son is three-year-old Callum.

It is not known whether Sharon or Callum were at the house with their parents when their brothers' bodies were found.

Residents said Mr Skeffington works as a builder and had remained in business despite the impact of the recession on the construction

industry.

Gardai last night delayed officially naming the dead brothers as the family got in contact with relatives abroad including Mrs Skeffington's sister Joanie Healy who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Skeffingtons' friends and neighbours remained deeply shocked last night.

Councillor Jerry Lundy said the parents were well-known and well-liked locally.

"They would be very much respected as hard workers," he said.

Mr Lundy said people in the area were "incredibly shocked that such a tragedy like this could take place in our community".

"We all feel a huge amount of sympathy for the Skeffington family," he said.

The Skeffingtons' home was sealed off by gardai yesterday as forensic investigators combed it for clues to the final moments of Brandon and Shane's lives.

A postmortem examination on the brothers' bodies was due to take place at Sligo Regional Hospital.

* TRAGEDY: Shane Skeffington jnr (20) with his younger brothers Brandon (nine) and Callum (three) and sister Sharon (15)

* GRIEVING: Shane Skeffington snr with his wife Carmel Healy Skeffington

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