Sanjeev Chada, who had killed and stowed his sons’ bodies in a car boot, had wrapped a length of rope around his neck into a death noose
“He appeared to be trying to choke himself,” Sean Foy told an inquest in Castlebar, Co Mayo, yesterday.
Mr Foy, a solicitor, told coroner John O’Dwyer and an inquest jury: “I shouted at him ‘what are you doing, what are you doing?’ I got my hand inside the noose of the rope and I struggled with my other hand to try and take the pressure off his neck.
“He was a strong man and he pulled the rope with great strength and I kept shouting at him ‘let go, let go’ but he did not.
“At that stage my right hand was free and I hit him a box on the side of the head and he then let go the rope. I took the rope off him and left it on top of the Focus.”
Mr Foy, and another passing motorist, opened the boot of Chada’s car and made a horrific discovery — the bodies of his two boys, Eoghan, 10, and Ruairí, 5.
The witness told the youngsters’ mother, Kathleen Chada who attended the hearing along with other family members, “the boys seemed to be at peace”.
Seán O’Malley, a retired teacher who lives at Rosbeg, recalled: “The younger boy was on the outside and the older boy was on the inside in the boot of the crashed Ford Focus.
“From the appearance of both young boys it would appear they were dead for quite some time.”
When questioned at the scene by Garda Brian Kilkelly, Chada replied that the boys were his sons, Eoghan and Ruairí, and he admitted killing them at a laneway near Ballintubber Abbey.
When asked why he did it, Chada replied: “I love them so much.”
Further questioned as to why this happened, Chada said “Money”. Pressed as to what he meant, he replied “I ruined everything”.
It emerged at the inquest that Chada had driven from Ballinkillen, Co Carlow, the previous evening and slept overnight in a laneway at Skehanagh, Ballintubber, before taking the lives of the boys at about 5am the following day.
An autopsy revealed Eoghan Chada died as a result of ligature strangulation with blunt force trauma to the head. Ruairí died from ligature strangulation.
After an inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killings in both cases, the coroner told Kathleen Chada it was impossible to try and comprehend the level of grief she must feel over the loss of her young ones.
The coroner said he hoped she would find the strength and courage to keep going and pointed out she was going to retain her married name out of respect for Eoghan and Ruairí.
At the end of the hearing, the mother thanked her family, friends and everyone who had supported her over the past 15 months, especially Fr Frank Fahy, Ballintubber, and Fr Charlie McDonnell, Westport.
She also thanked the staff at the mortuary at Mayo General Hospital who looked after her boys when she could not be with them.
“I know my boys were treated with dignity and respect in what were very difficult times for everyone,” she said.