THE TWO children who died in Saturday’s murder-suicide in Wexford were dead in their beds before the fire that gutted the house in Clonroche broke out, it was confirmed last night.
Postmortems revealed Mark, 6, and Julie, 5, may have been poisoned or suffocated by their father who shot himself in the head after shooting his wife.
However, despite this, a family spokesman said Diarmuid Flood, 41, will be buried beside his wife, Lorraine, 38, and children after a combined funeral service.
A spokesman for the bereaved Flood and Kehoe families said there was no question Diarmuid would have a separate funeral to his wife and his children.
The tragedy was discovered following a fire that broke out in the family home at 5.20am on Saturday. Last night, the head of the Garda Press Office, Superintendent Kevin Donohoe, said preliminary postmortems by Dr Declan Gilsenan had finished yesterday.
These confirmed neither Mark nor Julie were alive when the fire started. He would not rule out either poisoning or suffocation until blood tests return. These may take weeks.
“There was no evidence of physical trauma to either of the children. However, we are now satisfied fire was not the cause of death,” he said.
The postmortem also confirmed Lorraine Flood died from one gunshot wound to the chest and Mr Flood killed himself with a shot to the head.
Supt Donohoe said it would be at least two days before the state pathologist’s office releases the bodies for burial.
The funeral mass will be a joint one at St Clement’s Church, Clonroche, and the family will be buried together in the adjoining cemetery.
A spokesman for both families, Councillor Denis Kennedy, said the extended families had joined together for a prayer service in the home of Lorraine’s parents, John and Kathleen Kehoe, on Sunday evening and remained united.
“Absolutely, they will be buried together. The only problem is the size of the church. It is very small and they are two very large families,” he said.
Mr Kennedy also appealed for privacy.
“Our two families, so well known and loved by each other, must now begin the process of rebuilding our lives shattered by this tragedy.
“With much sorrow in our hearts we the bereaved families ask to be afforded the privacy to mourn and cherish our dearly departed,” he said.
This sentiment was echoed by Supt Donohoe who said the families’ grief was not helped by the level of media speculation about events.
At a press briefing outside Enniscorthy Garda Station he said a number of rounds of ammunition were recovered from the scene and only some of these were used.
The gun fired was licensed to a relative of the family, but had been in Mr Flood’s possession for a long time.
There was a high possibility flammable liquid was used to spread the fire and that Mr Flood did not make a phone call to a family friend shortly before he killed himself.
Supt Donohoe said the gardaí had brought in construction experts to study the safety of the house and the crime scene was likely to remain sealed off for a number of days.
Both families were briefed last night on the most recent updates relating to the case.
However, Supt Donohoe said it was not an investigation that could be resolved in “two of three days” and there was still a long way to go before they could say exactly what happened.
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