Family to be buried as probe goes on

SEVEN days after they perished in the house they shared in an isolated part of Co Kilkenny, Sharon Whelan and her two daughters will be buried today in the same grave.

The funeral of Sharon, 30, Zsara, 7, and Nadia, 2, takes place in Windgap, one week after their bodies were discovered in a bedroom at their burning home.

As the Garda investigation into the deaths continues and speculation mounts as to the cause of the tragedy, Sharon’s family is relieved to be able to say goodbye to their loved ones.

The Mass takes place at midday in St Nicholas’s parish church in Windgap, with burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

“It’s very hard, but at least this is one chapter that can be finished,” said Sharon’s uncle Pat Hayes yesterday.

“It’s a relief that they can finally be buried. The wait was very hard, on the father and mother in particular. Once we get to the other side of the funeral, it’s going to be a great help.”

Members of the Garda Technical Bureau have been continuing their examination of the farmhouse, in an attempt to piece together the events of early Christmas morning.

The discovery was made at about 8.30am on Christmas Day when neighbours in the quiet area of Roscon noticed smoke coming from the rented house shared by Sharon and her daughters.

The bodies were taken from the house as the fire continued to rage.

At first, it was assumed that the deaths were a tragic accident but speculation in the past week has focused on the possibility that Sharon may have already been dead before the fire took hold, while some reports have linked marks found around her neck to a possible strangulation.

Gardaí have interviewed several people in the area and are hoping that more information will be forthcoming from the public. Investigators are hoping the results of toxicology tests and the postmortem examination carried out by state pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy will yield more clues.

Pat Hayes said yesterday that the gardaí have been “reluctant” to say much to the family until they have more concrete information.

“They’re keeping an open mind and the family are keeping an open mind,” he said. “But we’re not oblivious to what’s in the papers. We have to let the guards to their work and the important thing is that they get the right result. They’re being very thorough about it.”

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