By David Raleigh
Wanted fraudster Julia Holmes, and her Co Limerick lover Thomas Ruttle, died by inhaling fumes from a charcoal barbecue in a sealed bedroom in Mr Ruttle's house, Gardaí believe.
The couples' badly decomposed bodies were discovered by members of a Traveller burglar gang who broke into the Ruttle family home in Askeaton, Co Limerick on May 18, last year.
For the first time, a source has revealed how the bedroom in which the bodies were discovered had been sealed from the inside and how a burnt out charcoal BBQ was also found in the room.
The body of Holmes, a grandmother, a serial fraudster and the subject of an international police hunt, was found lying next to Mr Ruttle.
All indications point to a joint suicide pact.
Due to the decomposition of the bodies gardaí were investigating a number of possible causes of death, including fatal gunshot wounds, and liquid poisoning.
Now, 11 months after their deaths, gardaí believe Ms Holmes, 63, and 56-year-old Mr Ruttle died by carbon monoxide poisoning.
It is believed Ms Holmes and Mr Ruttle also consumed medication prior to inhaling the deadly fumes, to knock them out prior to the fumes cutting off oxygen to their brains.
Further details about the deaths will be revealed at the couples' inquest, which is scheduled for next Monday, April 25.
A firearm licensed to Mr Ruttle was located in the bedroom, but it had not been fired.
Ms Holmes, who served a prison sentence in Texas for a $500,000 property fraud, was wanted by police services across the world.
She was allegedly involved in major property frauds in the North, the US, and Australia.
She was cremated in Cork in June 2015, a month after her body was discovered in Mr Ruttle's home.
Ms Holmes, who had several aliases, had been due to be buried in a pauper's grave, as none of her family had claimed her remains - however at the final hour, a member of the Ruttle family stepped in to organise the private ceremony.
Mr Ruttle, who apparently knew nothing of his partner's criminal background, was buried in his family plot in Rathkeale following a dignified funeral.
A six-person jury at Newcastle West Coroner's Court will hear detailed evidence for the first time next Monday about what caused the deaths.