County Cork Father and Sons Died in Murder Suicide, Coroner’s Rules | Ireland

Three members of an Irish family torn by an estate dispute have died in a murder-suicide that was “beyond comprehension”, a coroner’s inquest has found.

Tadg O’Sullivan, 60, and his son Diarmuid, 23, shot dead Diarmuid’s brother Mark, 26, before turning their guns on themselves in a case that shocked Ireland.

An investigation on Wednesday returned a verdict of unlawful homicide in Mark’s case and suicide in Tadg and Diarmuid’s cases.

Coroner Michael Kennedy said the bloodletting on the Kanturk family farm in County Cork last October defied reason: “A terrible tragedy beyond comprehension.

Mark O’Sullivan, 26, had told a friend he feared his father and brother would kill him. Photograph: Family document / AP

Kennedy said he usually expresses his condolences to the immediate family, but there has been no one alive since Anne O’Sullivan, Tadg’s wife and mother of his sons, died of a cancer in April. The former nurse was 61 years old.

His diagnosis of terminal illness in February 2020 appears to have sparked the tragedy.

Anne owned the 115-acre farm and planned to share it equally among her sons. This infuriated her husband and younger son who thought Diarmuid, who studied accounting and worked on the farm, should inherit most of the land.

The jury heard of angry arguments, with Diarmuid threatening to leave a “trail of destruction” without “igniting Raheen again.” Raheen was the name of the farm.

On October 10, Mark, a trainee lawyer, texted a friend saying he was concerned his father and brother were killing him and trying to pass it off as suicide.

Early on October 25, Tadg and Diarmuid entered his room and shot him with legally detained guns. Mark was shot in the head, chest and arm and found lying on the ground, a pathologist said.

The gunshots woke Anne who ran into the room. The two men looked at her, made a mocking comment and shot Mark’s bedroom again, she later said.

Father and son had changed the locks on the gate so that Anne could not leave. She rushed on foot across a field to the neighbors to sound the alarm.

When the police arrived at the farm, they discovered Mark’s body in the bedroom and the bodies of his father and brother near a fairy-tale fort, a term for a type of prehistoric dwelling, about 500 meters from the farm.

Police believe Diarmuid killed himself first and then his father committed suicide. Both died of head trauma caused by gunshot wounds. Letters found in their pockets suggested they had planned the violence several days earlier.

Anne told the neighbors that she believed they murdered Mark to make her suffer. She died six months after the tragedy.

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