Northern Ireland news

More than 30 murder-suicide cases in Ireland since 2000

Arthur and Lorraine McElhill with their children James, Caroline, Bellina, Sean and Clodagh

THERE have been more than 30 murder-suicide cases in Ireland since 2000, but according to the Republic's National Suicide Research Foundation they remain relatively rare.

It has called for in-depth investigations of each case to identify risk factors and patterns and help prevent more occurring, stressing the need for sensitive and factual reporting to minimise harm and increase awareness.

Yesterday the family of Clodagh Hawe met the Garda Commissioner to discuss their concerns about her killing along with her three children.

Mrs Hawe (39) and her children Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (six) were all killed at their home in Co Cavan in 2016 by her husband Alan Hawe. The deputy principal later took his own life.

Her family want a full inquiry into the circumstances of the murders, reform of how inquests are carried out and access to police files.

Two years ago, Una Butler, whose husband John killed their two young girls before taking his own life at their Co Cork home in 2010, compiled her own research to identify around 27 cases in the Republic.

However, there have also been a number of such cases in the north, including that of convicted sex offender Arthur McElhill, who killed himself, partner Lorraine McGovern, and their five children in a house fire in Omagh, Co Tyrone, in 2007.

In 2017, Concepta Leonard (51) and her former partner Peadar Phair (55), were found dead in a house in Abbey Road, on the outskirts of Maguiresbridge and close to Lisnaskea.Co Fermanagh.

Phair had also attacked her son Conor before taking his own life.

Farmer Arthur Gibson (61) was shot dead in 2013 by his 37-year-old employee Michael Murphy in the Co Antrim village of Glenarm, before the father-of-four turned the gun on himself.

In 2010 mother-of-three Sharon Hull (33) was killed by her estranged doorman husband Phillip at their Carnbeg Meadows home in Antrim town.

The 34-year-old, against whom Mrs Hull, a chartered accountant had a restraining order, drove eight miles to a secluded car park at Tardree Forest where he killed himself.

In 2008, Youth worker Andrew Kewley (40) murdered 39-year-old Caroline Kewley with a single shot to the head in the conservatory of their remote Co Down cottage, using a recently-issued PSNI firearm.

He then took his own life.

She had threatened to divorce him, an inquest later heard.

Madeleine O'Neill gave her daughter Lauren a sleeping tablet before smothering her and taking her own life at Manse Road in Carryduff in 2005.

Both family dogs were also found dead in garage.

The deaths came two weeks after Mrs O'Neill had been treated for psychiatric problems.

Katarzyna Bartowiak (27) was found strangled in a bedroom of her home in Deerpark estate, Tralee, Co Kerry in 2011.

Her partner, Stephen Goodson-Ukiwo (33) killed himself at the cliffs at Ballybunion after a six-hour stand-off with gardaí.

In 2015, the badly decomposed body of Julia Holmes (63) from Ballynahinch was found along with the body of her beekeeper husband Thomas Ruttle in a Co Limerick farmhouse by burglars.

It later emerged she was wanted by the PSNI over an £18,000 fraud.

Going by the name Creon Ruttle, she had been a victim of a shotgun wound which police said was inflicted by her husband, a local farmer, who then took his own life.

It is understood she was still married at the time of the marriage to Mr Ruttle.

Also in the Republic, Shane Skeffington jnr (20) killed his younger brother Brandon (9) with a kitchen knife at their Co Sligo home in 2014 before taking his own life.

A short time later, nine-year-olds Thomas and Patrick O'Driscoll were found stabbed in their home at Charleville, Co Cork.

Their brother Jonathan (21) was later found dead outside Buttevant, 15km away.

In 2015, the badly beaten body of mother-of-four Marie Quigley was discovered in her Rathmore, Hackballscross home in Co Louth, a short time before her husband Jim (69) he drove his car into the path of a lorry on the M1 between Dundalk and Drogheda.

The same year, the bodies of Michael Greaney (53) and his wife Valerie (49) were discovered with stab wounds at their home and their eldest daughter Michelle (21) lying seriously injured on the road outside the house.

It later emerged that Mr Greaney, who had a history of mental illness, had attacked his wife and daughter before taking his own life.

Also in 2015, Garda Tony Golden was shot dead, along by Adrian Crevan Mackin in Omeath, Co Louth, who also shot his Co Down girlfriend before taking his own life.

Mackin (24), originally from Hilltown in Co Down had been facing charges of dissident republican membership.

In 2016, 28-year-old father Marco Velocci and his three-year-old son Alex died in a suspected murder-suicide in Co Limerick.

The pair died when their car collided with a truck on the N24 between Pallasgreen and Oola, on the Limerick-Tipperary border.

Anyone in distress can contact Samaritans on 116 123.

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