Elderly couple killed with axe

A builder who found a couple beaten to death with an axe in their Co Donegal home has spoken of the horror discovery.

The man was part of a team renovating the home of Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy, who were murdered at their home in Carndonagh.

He was with a family member when they made the gruesome discovery just after 9am yesterday.

“It was just horrific. I can’t really speak about it because it was just so shocking,” he said. “He used an axe. I just saw them there. I can’t really describe what I seen because I found it all so hard to take in.

“It just keeps going through my head — those images of them lying there. I can’t describe it. Oh God, it was just horrific.”

A man who is known to the family has been arrested by gardaí and is helping them with their inquiries.

He is being questioned under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and is being interviewed at Buncrana Garda station. Nobody else has been arrested in connection with the deaths.

Among the items recovered at the scene was an axe. The couple, who were in their 70s, are survived by their four children, Julian, James, Delila, and Maureen.

Mr Cuddihy was a retired maths teacher who was very well-known in the area, while Mrs Cuddihy was a retired nurse.

Mr Cuddihy was originally from Kilkenny, but had lived in Donegal for decades, while Maureen was from the area.

The dead man, who was a past president at Ballyliffin Golf Club, was a maths and technology teacher at Carndonagh Community School. Local county councillor Martin McDermott said the community was numb with grief.

Fianna Fáil councillor McDermott was a past pupil of Mr Cuddihy.

“Like everyone else, I am just numb and in shock at what has happened in Carndonagh today,” he said.

“They were a lovely, quiet couple with a lovely family. For something like this to happen is just surreal. It’s like a dream. They were a very respected family and our hearts just go out to them at this time.

“You hear of things like this happening in big cities but not in a place like this in rural Ireland.

“Anybody I have spoken to just cannot believe it either.

“But this is a very tightly-knit community and we will gather around the family at this time.”

Staff at the popular Tul na Rí Bar in Carndonagh are devastated as Jimmy would have called there most days.

“Jimmy was a really lovely man. I didn’t know his wife at all,” said a member of staff at the bar.

“He would come in most days and would have a wee whiskey and a chat, or sometimes he would just have coffee.

“He gave me maths grinds and he was a really good teacher. It’s just awful that something like this has happened.”

Gardaí were posted at both entrances to the house on the Buncrana Road yesterday, which is about 450m from the town.

A Garda cordon was lifted occasionally as distraught relatives arrived at the scene — the sound of loud weeping breaking the silence on the country roadway.

At around 2pm, four detectives arrived at the scene of the murders.

It is believed the family all attended a recent family wedding and nothing suggested there was anything wrong in the house.

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she saw Mrs Cuddihy at mass at the weekend.

“She was a quiet lady and she was at mass as usual,” said the neighbour. “They were in their twilight years and it’s just so sad to think that their lives were ended in this way.”


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