Gardaí identify decomposing body found in Limerick

Gardaí identify decomposing body found in Limerick

By David Raleigh

Gardaí have confirmed a body found lying on a bed decomposing next to the body of con woman Julia Holmes, is that of her partner Thomas Ruttle.

Mr Ruttle and Ms Holmes were discovered in a badly decayed state by a gang of intruders who broke into Mr Ruttle's farmhouse in Askeaton, Co Limerick last Monday morning.

Gardaí believe the bodies were in the house for a number of weeks.

No cause of death has yet been established, however Gardaí were able to rule out the couple died from gunshot wounds, following post mortems.

A .22 rifle licensed to Mr Ruttle was found near the bodies in an upstairs bedroom but had not been discharged.

[timg]AskeatonDeathsCouple_large.jpg{/timg]Julia Holmes and Thomas Ruttle.

Gardaí are awaiting the results of pathological tests being carried out by a forensic scientist on liquid found in bottles next to the bodies.

They are also examining a number of theories as to the cause of death, including poisoning.

Superintendent Tom O'Connor said the probe was "progressing very well".

A traveller gang who broke into the house and found the bodies are being treated by Gardaí as "key witnesses".

The gang are also likely to give evidence or have their evidence read into the record when the inquests into the couples' deaths opens.

The West Limerick burglar gang made the grim discovery at 2.30am as they felt their way around the house which had been disconnected from the electricity supply.

It's understood suicide letters were discovered by Gardaí in the house and Gardaí removed a large amount of correspondence and paperwork.

Holmes, 63, a convicted fraudster was wanted by police in America and Northern Ireland.

She had been classified as 'on the run' from the authorities despite living openly with Mr Ruttle in Askeaton for the past two years.

She was previously involved in a $500,000 property scam with her Texan husband Clyde Parish and served part of a 27-month jail term in the US.

In 2006 Holmes was extradited back to Northern Ireland to face more serious fraud charges but fled the jurisdiction while out on bail.

Her son who lives in the North has said he will not reclaim her body and has no intention of organising her burial.

Mr Ruttle, 56, who had no knowledge of his partner's past crime sprees, is survived by a number of siblings living in Ireland and the UK, and two sons from a previous relationship.

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