Nine-year-old twins killed in suspected murder-suicide

Police later discovered the body of a 20-year-old male, believed to be a relative, 15km from the first bodies

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Three family members, including nine-year-old twin brothers, were found dead in Ireland yesterday, in what police suspect may be a double murder and suicide.

The twins, identified by the Irish Times as Tom and Paddy O’Driscoll, were discovered by their younger brothers, aged three and five, in their home just outside Charleville, north county Cork, shortly before 5pm.

The discovery sparked a manhunt for their 20-year-old half-brother Jonathan, whose body was later found by police at 7pm about 15km from the scene of the first deaths, by the Awbeg river in the ruins of Buttevant Castle, outside the town of Buttevant.

It would appear cause of death was suicide.

Garda detectives are not seeking anyone in connection with his death. The deputy state pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, is due in Cork today to carry out postmortems on the bodies of the three brothers.

It is believed older brother Jonathan was minding the boys after collecting them from school, while their parents were six miles away in Killmallock, County Limerick.

A local priest spent around two hours with the family after the bodies were discovered.

Friar Tom Naughton of the Holy Cross Parish in Charlville, speaking to the Mirror, said: “We prayed together. We comforted them and assured them, especially of the community here in the area, that we were with them.

“It’s clear that anybody who suffers a tragedy is going to be upset and hurt at this time but it is quite raw.”

The alarm was raised when a member of the family arrived home and discovered the youngsters in the detached, pink and white bungalow just off the main Cork-Limerick road, an area of Charleville known as Deerpark.

Arrangements are being made for post-mortem examinations to be carried out on all three bodies at Cork University Hospital.

If the murder-suicide suspicions are confirmed, it will be the second incident of its kind in Ireland in just over six weeks.

Two brothers died in a tragedy at their home in rural Sligo in late July - nine-year-old Brandon Skeffington was found with stab wounds in the family home at Banada, Tourlestrane near Tubbercurry, before the body of his elder brother Shane junior, 21, was found in a shed beside the property.

It was the first murder-suicide to occur in Ireland for more than a year.