Woman discovered with her son ‘had been severely depressed’

An Irish mother believed to have killed her child before taking her own life had been struggling to cope with severe depression, it has emerged.

The bodies of Sinéad Higgins, 37, and her son, Oisín O’Driscoll, were found when police broke down the door of their London home.

An autopsy took place at Fulham Mortuary yesterday afternoon and a result is expected shortly.

A week ago, Ms Higgins, who was a registered nurse and medico-legal advisor from Aughagower, Co Mayo, tweeted “the future looks very” followed by a tornado emoji.

Many people have since responded to Ms Higgins’s poignant tweet posted on Friday, December 9, and most were sympathetic. However, others focused on the fact that a child had been killed.

At the time of her death, Ms Higgins, a single mother, owed thousands of pounds in county court judgements and was struggling to make ends met.

Public records showed Ms Higgins had a county court judgement for almost £3,000 (€3,590) over an unpaid debt.

Woman discovered with her son ‘had been severely depressed’

It is believed Ms Higgins and her son may have been lying dead since the weekend,when they were last seen in public. The tragedy was discovered by police who forced their way into their home in The Fairway, Ruislip, on Wednesday morning.

Police said it was likely that the tragic events that led to the deaths did not involve a third party.

A neighbour believed Ms Higgins became depressed after breaking up with her boyfriend and father of her child, barrister Shane O’Driscoll.

Mr O’Driscoll had raised the alarm after getting no answer when he called to the house on Monday to take his son to school.

Originally from Bray, Co Wicklow, he worked for a software company and lived a short distance away from Ms Higgins and their son in London.

Mr O’Driscoll had posted numerous photographs of his son on his Facebook page. Ms Higgins’s father Thomas was a farmer and fencing contractor who died two years ago. The family is well known to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Ms Higgins is survived by five brothers and three sisters. Another brother, Cathal, died in a motorcycle crash involving a tractor in 2004.

Those who knew Ms Higgins said that she had recently gone through a painful break-up and was facing a possible legal dispute.

A friend said she was unhappy and worried about her future with her son.

Woman discovered with her son ‘had been severely depressed’

Barbara Lonnan, a friend and neighbour, said Ms Higgins had become depressed and was worried about being able to pay the rent.

Ms Lonnan advised her to seek psychiatric help, but Ms Higgins said she had the situation “in hand”.

Ms Higgins worked as a medical legal adviser and at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. She had been employed as a clinical negligence litigation executive at a large firm and had a legal qualification.

The Samaritans can be contacted by phone 116123 or by email jo@samaritans.org


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