"Help, help, help my mom," Fireman tells of harrowing scenes at double killing
A FIREMAN has described how he saw a five year old girl screaming ‘Help, help, help my mom’ as she stood in the street and beside her dying 27-year old mother who had just sustained multiple stab wounds.
Member of the Clare Fire Service, Gerry O’Halloran was giving evidence today into the deaths of South African married couple, Angelique Billing and Cornelius Billing (44) in the Clare village of Kildysart on December 17th last.
A jury at the inquest court in Ennis returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence that Mrs Billing died from stab wounds to the neck and chest and Mr Billing died from a stab wound to the neck.
The jury returned the verdict after County Coroner, Isobel O’Dea said that there was no evidence to support a verdict of suicide in either case and a verdict of unlawful killing was not open to the jury.
Asst State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis said that Mrs Billing “had received a multiplicity of stab wounds and incise wounds”.
He said: “In addition, there was minor blunt force trauma to the head and to the hands indicating that she had been involved in a scuffle.”
Dr Curtis said that Mrs Billing had suffered 12 penetrating wounds in total and 10 incise wounds.
He said: “On the palm of her right hand, there were two superficial wounds, which may be regarded as defensive injuries.”
Dr Curtis said that Cornelius Billing died from a large deep wound to the neck that wounded his jugular vein and noted that Mr Billing also had defensive type injuries on his right hand.
Dr Curtis said that a child’s teddy bear at the scene was blood soaked after it was used as an emergency measure to stem the flow of blood from Mr Billing’s neck wound.
The pathologist also recalled coming across a child’s 'snakes and ladders' play mat and that it was heavily blood soaked with pooled blood in the Billings’ apartment.
Dr Curtis also confirmed that he saw a boning knife and the tip of which was bent back.
The two Billing daughters witnessed the double killing and Garda John Cahill said that the girls, aged five and three, were “hysterical” when he arrived at the Billing apartment.
Moments earlier, Garda Cahill said that he first came across Angelique Billing covered in blood staggering along Kildysart main street at 18.50.
Garda Cahill said that Ms Billing’s five year old daughter was beside her “screaming and crying”.
The Garda said that Mrs Billing “was holding the left side of her neck with her right hand and she was bleeding profusely”.
The local Garda said that he left Ms Billing in the care of Fire Service staff and he pursued the young girl who had left the scene to go down a lane to return to her home and he was aware that there was another young sister living at the address.
Arriving there, Garda Cahill said that he was met by Cornelius Billing who was standing just outside the bathroom of the apartment and "he had a long black handled kitchen knife in his right hand and the knife was covered in blood”.
Garda Cahill said that Mr Billing was facing the two girls.
He said: “I advanced two steps to situate myself closer to the children. I continued to ask him to drop the knife and he did so on the third instruction. I told the children to step back into the living room - both children were hysterical.”
The Garda said that he was about to caution Mr Billing when he noticed that he too was injured.
He said: “His face was pale and he was staring into space… he had a large gash or laceration to the left side of his neck”.
Garda Cahill said that the only nearby object he could use to stem the blood from the neck wound was a child’s teddy bear.
The Garda said that he asked Mr Billing a number of times what happened and he eventually replied “Domestic dispute. She stabbed me. I stabbed her. Help me.”
Garda Cahill said that he asked the two girls “if they were able to say what happened, but due to their age and upset, they were unable to say anything”.
Efforts to resuscitate both parents at the apartment and street scene failed and Mrs Billing was pronounced dead at 19.20 and Mr Billing at 19.25 by a local doctor.
Garda Cahill and the fire service staff were on the scene at the time to attend a fire at a local hardware store.
A fire man who arrived at the scene of the apartment, Mr O’Halloran said: “There was blood all over the landing - all the way up the stairs.”
Mr O’Halloran said that the only response he got from Mr Billing was ‘can’t breathe, can’t breathe’.
Mr O’Halloran said that he noticed that “there was water in the bath with only a couple of inches of water as if someone was bathing kids”.
Paramedic, Michael Marrinan arrived at the apartment scene and said that “the stairs were completely awash with blood and the balcony was covered in blood”.
Ms O’Dea expressed her sympathy to relatives of the Billings who had travelled from the UK to be present at the inquest. The relations declined to comment after the inquest.