Friends feared fraudster tried to sell partner’s home

Efforts to have Julia Holmes's family arrange a funeral for her have failed while Thomas Ruttle's funeral will be in the coming days.

Friends of Thomas Ruttle had become concerned that his fraudster partner, Julia Holmes, had been trying in recent months to sell his family home in Co Limerick and move to Spain.

Both were found dead in Mr Ruttle’s home on Monday, after the alarm was raised by intruders who were carrying out a burglary there.

Ms Holmes, 63, misled local people into believing that she and Thomas, 56, had got married abroad.

Before meeting Thomas Ruttle on the internet over three years ago, she had been engaged in widespread fraud on both sides of the Atlantic.

She served two years in a Texas jail after she conned a group of local businessmen out of $500,000 (€453,000) in the fake sale of property in Ireland.

During the months prior to the deaths of the couple in a suicide pact, friends of Thomas Ruttle had become concerned on learning Julia had been touting the sale of Mr Ruttle’s old two-storey family home at Boolaglass near Askeaton.

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She had been in negotiations with a man described by locals as a “very dodgy character” who is known to have access to large sums of cash.

Concerns were heightened after Ms Holmes was seen meeting with this person.

She told one acquaintance that she and Thomas were hoping to sell up and move to Spain and make new lives for themselves.

One friend, who asked not to be named, said: “Thomas would never contemplate selling the old family home or move away to live abroad. He loved living here. More than likely, he was unaware of her moves to sell.”

Ms Holmes had engaged builders to carry extensive renovations to the house for which there are outstanding unpaid bills estimated at around €50,000.

Mr Ruttle’s funeral service will be held at St Mary’s Church of Ireland in Askeaton over the coming days.

Efforts to have relatives of Ms Holmes in the North organise her funeral have so far failed and the West Limerick coroner, Brendan Nix may have to request Limerick City and County Council to arrange a ‘pauper’s funeral’ for her.

Her body still remains at the morgue in University Hospital Limerick.

The badly decomposed bodies of the couple were discovered lying beside one another in an upstairs bedroom. Lengthy notes written by both were found in the kitchen in which they expressed the wish they be read out at their inquests and if they were found alive, not to be revived.

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