Gardaí visit locals to assure them no third party involved in horror case

Gardaí have taken the unusual step of visiting homes in the Irishtown area of South Mayo to reassure shocked locals that no third party was involved in the horrific deaths of an elderly couple and the serious assault on their son last week.

Gardaí visit locals to assure them no third party involved in horror case

Investigations suggest 75-year-old Tom Fitzgerald, of Knockadoon, Irishtown, murdered his wife Kitty, 72, and attempted to kill his son Paul, 37, before taking his own life.

Chief Supt Pat Diskin said gardaí had visited a number of houses as part of their door-to-door inquiries, but he believed it was important to go a step further and meet the residents in person. “I was anxious myself to meet some of the local people and reassure them we are in control of the situation and we’re satisfied that there is no outside involvement,” he said.

Gardaí have refused to confirm a murder-suicide theory but it is understood that all of the evidence in the case is pointing in that direction.

“We’re satisfied from the post-mortems and our findings at the scene that we’re not looking for anyone else in relation to this,” said Chief Supt Diskin.

The head of Mayo’s Garda force conceded that locals were “finding it hard to comprehend” what had happened and were “trying to come to terms with the tragedy”.

Yesterday, neighbours and friends of the Fitzgerald family gathered at the Church of the Holy Family in Irishtown for the couple’s joint funeral Mass at noon.

The two families came together over the weekend to organise the funeral service and burial. Some members of the family travelled from overseas to attend.

Paul Fitzgerald is in an induced coma at Beaumont Hospital after sustaining serious head injuries at the hands of his father.

His condition was described as “critical but stable”. Gardaí have been unable to interview him since the incident.

With the results of the post- mortems not released, and an inquest into the deaths of Tom and Kitty Fitzgerald not expected to take place for a number of months, the circumstances surrounding the incident will remain unknown for some time.

It is understood that Tom Fitzgerald’s injuries had been self-inflicted while those of his wife and son had been extensive and were caused by a blunt instrument. Paul’s injuries, from which he is now recovering, are believed to have been inflicted by his father.

Chief Supt Diskin said gardaí are not looking for any suspects in relation to the incident.

“I am quite satisfied all the answers to our inquiries lie at the location of the incident in Irishtown. I also want to reassure the elderly or those who are living alone that we are in control of the situation.”

The chief superintendent appealed to anyone who saw the couple or their son between the Sunday evening of October 30 and Tuesday afternoon, November 1 to contact investigating officers as they are keen to establish the movements of the Fitzgerald family at that time.

“We are hoping to speak to people who were out trick or treating for Halloween on Monday night who may have been in the area or anyone who saw anything they feel was suspicious or may help our inquiries to come forward,” said Chief Supt Diskin.

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