Second murder-suicide to rock north Cork in just a few months

As news of this latest double-murder and suicide tragedy began to emerge in the early hours of Friday morning, people's thoughts turned to the sequence of events which tore the O'Sullivan family apart in Kanturk late last year
Second murder-suicide to rock north Cork in just a few months

The farm at Curraghgorm, Mitchelstown, where the bodies of Paddy and Willie Hennessy were found early on Friday. The body of their brother Johnny, 59, was later found a few kilometres away. Picture: Larry Cummins

This is the second apparent murder-suicide to rock a rural community in north Cork in less than five months.

And it is another set of violent deaths in an area still coming to terms with the gruesome discovery earlier this month of the body of a woman in a burning car.

As news of this latest double-murder and suicide tragedy began to emerge in the early hours of Friday morning, people's thoughts turned to the sequence of events which tore the O'Sullivan family apart in Kanturk late last year, and wondered if something similar had occurred near Kildorrery.

On October 26 last, a father and son took their own lives after shooting another son in a dispute over land in the Raheen area of Kanturk.

Tadgh, Mark and Diarmuid O’Sullivan, who died in a murder-suicide at their farm in Kanturk in October. Picture: Gardaí

Tadgh, Mark and Diarmuid O’Sullivan, who died in a murder-suicide at their farm in Kanturk in October. Picture: Gardaí

Gardaí believe Tadhg O’Sullivan, 59, and his son, Diarmuid, 23, killed Mr O’Sullivan’s oldest son, Mark, 26, at the family home following a prolonged and increasingly bitter dispute over who would inherit portions of the 115-acre family farm.

Gardaí believe Mark’s mother, Anne, 60, was spared by her husband and younger son so that she could live with the torment of what they had done, knowing that they had killed the son they believe she favoured.

A detailed suicide note found close to the bodies of Mr O’Sullivan and Diarmuid gave an insight into the bitter dispute.

It is understood Diarmuid was set to inherit a small field of relatively poor land and that he, and his father, in particular, felt that Mark, a trainee solicitor, was being favoured.

It is also believed Mr O'Sullivan was the main influence in the dispute and that Diarmuid, to a large extent, followed his father’s lead.

It’s believed they confronted Mark in a bedroom that night, and blasted him to death with rifles, and let Anne flee the scene to the safety of a neighbour's house, where she raised the alarm.

The father and son then walked the short distance to a nearby field and shot themselves.

Gardaí stress that they are at the very early stages of their investigation into the Kanturk killings and a motive is unclear.

But it is understood they will be exploring whether there was any dispute between the brothers in relation to land ownership or farm income, as well as trying to establish whether any physical or mental health issues may have contributed to the tragedy. 

Mary O'Keeffe

Mary O'Keeffe

The north Cork region was left reeling after another devastating tragedy earlier this month when the body of Mary O’Keeffe, 72, from Dromahane, near Mallow, was found in a burning car near woodland in Dromdeer East, near Doneraile on February 4.

Michael Leonard, 62, of Hillcrest, Glenosheen, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, remains in Garda custody, having been charged with her murder.

And on September 4, 2014, twin nine-year-old brothers Patrick and Thomas O’Driscoll, were found stabbed to death at their home in Charleville.

An inquest later heard the wounds were inflicted by their brother Jonathan O’Driscoll, 21, whose body was found about 14km away in Buttevant less than an hour later. He had taken his own life.

The inquest also heard how a road traffic accident, relationship breakups, the suicide of a close cousin, Jonathan's quest for information about his birth family, and concerns over a pending court appearance linked to a minor road traffic offence all combined to send him spiralling into depression.

Despite engagement with the mental health services and an improvement in his health in the weeks before the tragic murder-suicide, it emerged he had stopped taking his medication just days before he stabbed his twin brothers to death and took his own life.

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