A middle-aged man found dead with his two children spent their last night alive visiting their sick mother in hospital.
Trevor Wallwork, 52, was found dead in an armchair in the living room of the family’s isolated bungalow with his children Kimberley, aged 12, and nine-year-old Harry at his feet.
It has been reported locally that there may have been a gas leak in the home. Early investigations have also centred on possibilities that the leak may have involved carbon monoxide.
The family had been living in the Forget Me Not cottage in Moygara, about one mile from Gurteen, south Co Sligo, for about six years.
The family spent their final hours in Sligo General Hospital where wife and mother Sue is seriously ill with cancer. She has been battling the disease for several years.
Vicky Barnes, Sue’s daughter from a previous relationship, who lives in Tobercurry, raised the alarm after calling at the home on Sunday night.
Christmas decorations including a tree with lights were on display in the home.
Gardaí are investigating claims that there was a strong odour of gas when the three bodies were discovered. Two dogs were also found dead.
Mr Wallwork is believed to have worked as a bricklayer in Coventry, England, before moving his family to the Sligo area but he has not worked full time in the Gurteen area while caring for his sick wife and looking after the children.
One local man revealed he saw Mr Wallwork and the youngsters in Sligo General on Saturday evening while others described a quiet family who kept themselves to themselves.
Christy O’Grady, owner of O’Grady’s filling station and shop in Gurteen, spoke to Mr Wallwork almost every day.
“He’d be in one, two or maybe even three times a day. He was in and out of the shop,” he said.
“He was a lovely man. His general demeanour was very pleasant, very chatty. They had just arrived here from the UK when I got to know him. I don’t know why they came here, to this place. You get a lot of English people who move over and you wouldn’t get to know them. But I always made a point of speaking to him.
“Trevor wasn’t like that, you would think you knew him all your life. We often talked about Sue and her illness.”
The youngsters attended Mullaghroe National School in Gurteen and Kim had competed in the Cumannn na mBunscoil pupil and teacher GAA competition in Markievicz Park, Sligo, last summer.
Gardaí were alerted to the deaths last night at about 9.40pm after an ambulance crew was called to the scene. A local doctor pronounced them dead at about 11pm.
Michael Curtis, the Deputy State Pathologist, arrived at the house at midday today to lead technical examinations. The bodies were removed about an hour later for post mortem examinations in Sligo General, where Sue is being cared for.
A full forensic inquiry will also take place.
Gerry Murray, a Fine Gael councillor living in the area, said the small community of about 300 people in Gurteen had been left stunned.
“The details of the deaths we don’t know, but I do know that the village of Gurteen is very upset,” he said.