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Moment tragic Tom fell in to the arms of a serial con

NewsBy Lynne Kelleher
Moment tragic Tom fell in to the arms of a serial con

THIS was the moment tragic Tom Ruttle fell into the clutches of serial con woman Julia Holmes.

The wedding snap recorded the day the Limerick man became ensnared in a web of lies with the fugitive bigamist who was already married twice.

The doomed love story ended in tragedy when burglars found Tom and his wife dead in their beds this week.

Today, the Sunday World can reveal that there will be a legal battle over the 63 year-old fraudster’s remains after her estranged son - her next of kin - told friends he would not bury her.

The Sunday World understands her only surviving blood relative has said he wants nothing to do with the woman who walked out on him when he was only six months old.

Adopted and raised by his grandparents, the abandoned child never knew his mother. At four years of age he rejected her when she turned up at his door looking to take him back.

Holmes’ 43-year-old son, who wanted nothing to do with her in life, is adamant he wants nothing to with her in death.

The fraudster’s remains will be returned to Northern Ireland and stored in a morgue until it is decided who is responsible for laying her to rest.

It is understood authorities south of the border have already made it clear they believe it is her son’s responsibility to oversee her burial but sources close to the man who barely remembers his mother have  told us he is ready to go to court such is his disdain for her.

“As far as he is concerned she can rot,” a well-placed source told the Sunday World.

“His only feelings for her are  ones of disappointment and anger, this is a woman he doesn’t know and doesn’t care about, she didn’t care about him so why should he care about her.”

Earlier this week he said he felt “utterly cheated” by her death in that she will never stand trial for a lifetime of fraudulent activity which fleeced dozens of innocent victims of thousands of pounds in life savings.  The Sunday World is aware of a number of people who lost everything - savings and their home - at the hands of the Ulsterwoman.

“I feel utterly cheated that she has been allowed the easy route out after a life of crime and chaos,” her son said

“I always hoped she would end up in court when life caught up with her. But there’s no chance now that anyone will get anything from her because she’s dead.”

Sources close to the investigation say that while a suicide pact remains a firm line of inquiry they are also considering the notion Holmes died some time  before her ‘husband’ Tom Ruttle.

The Sunday World understands  her body was in an advanced state of  decomposition and that she may have been dead up to a couple of weeks before Ruttle died.

Toxicology reports indicate the couple had been poisoned but they had also suffered physical injuries.   Two guns – a shotgun and a rifle – were also found at the premises

Today we can reveal how Holmes darkly ‘joked’ with neighbours that she had made a suicide pact with her husband.

The ‘threats’ were made long before her remains were found alongside Tom this week.

The couple’s nearest neighbour, Liam Madigan, has told how the convicted fraudster had joked with him about the pact. He believes the Limerick man was so in love with the con artist that he could see no other way out when her past started to catch up with her.

The Sunday World has also learned that Tom’s teenage son and other relatives had repeatedly called in looking for him since he was last seen at the start of April, when his wife was exposed as a career criminal who had served time in America for fraud and was wanted by the PSNI.

Mr Madigan said yesterday that he had spoken to the gardai about Julia’s comments when they met in the street in Askeaton in Co. Limerick.

“She told me a few years ago that they had made a pact to go together. I had been making a joke at the time and she said it in a joking way. 

“She told me if the time came they would go together. They wanted to be together in the next world the same as here. I was laughing when she said it and so was Tom, but he didn’t comment. 

When it came out that there was two bodies found, it all came back to me and I told the guards what she told me. They really loved one another the two of them. It is sad that was the only option they could see.

“She was wanted in America and by the PSNI, but they didn’t murder anyone or kill anyone and they could find no alternative.”

Gardai used DNA tests to confirm that the bodies discovered in the Limerick farmhouse horror were Thomas and Julia.

It is thought the badly-decomposed bodies, found in the upstairs bedrooms surrounded by notes and a will, could have lain there since the beginning of April.  
Thomas, who is believed to have met the serial con artist on an internet dating site, was described as a gentleman by his neighbours.

The tragic deaths come in the wake of a trail of scandal, lies and debt which had been exposed in the weeks before their deaths.

A stillbirth baby, ovarian cancer, professions as a physiotherapist and an equine expert were all part of the web of lies spun during the four years the con woman lived in the quiet rural area outside the town of Askeaton in Co. Limerick.

Holmes – a prolific con woman with dozens of aliases who was on the run from police – was wanted by the FBI, the PSNI and Gardai for scamming hundreds of thousands of euro.

Guests at the small Limerick wedding for Julia and Tom in 2011 were told then that the 60-year-old bigamist was pregnant.

She later said she had given birth to a stillborn daughter called Annabella Clarinda in December 2011 – and erected a gravestone with the inscription “Treasured Baby

Daughter of Julia and Thomas Ruttle” in the Church of Ireland graveyard in Askeaton.