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Killer dad Sanjeev Chada caught on CCTV ‘buying sweets’ with sons hours before he murdered them

Heartbroken mum Kathleen and gardaí have revealed the harrowing details of the case in a new RTÉ documentary

CCTV camera captured Sanjeev Chada shopping with his two sons on the night they disappeared.

Kathleen Chada with a photograph of her sons Eoghan and Ruairí. Photo: Dylan Vaughan.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

The CCTV cameras of a local shop captured killer dad Sanjeev Chada “buying sweets” with his young sons just hours before he murdered them.

Their heartbroken mum Kathleen and gardaí who investigated their deaths have revealed the harrowing details of the case in a new RTÉ documentary called The Case I Can’t Forget.

Chada had told Eoghan (10) and Ruairi (5) that they were heading on a camping trip before he strangled them in 2013, going to buy a coffee in a local shop while he drove around with the bodies of the young boys in the boot.

The horrifying story is now told from the perspective of Kathleen and investigating gardaí, who recounted the gut-wrenching moment they realised their search for Eoghan and Ruairi was to end in tragedy.

“They were caught on CCTV in a retail outlet in Carlow at 7.30pm. You could see the two little boys running around buying sweets and Tayto, and one bought a magazine,” recalled Superintendent Martin Walker.

“It appeared they were stocking up for a journey. My gut feeling was there was something terribly wrong.”

Kathleen had been told her then-husband was bringing the boys bowling on the night of July 28, but they never came home.

Supt Walker revealed his sense of dread grew when he discovered the bowling alley closed at 6pm – the exact time Eoghan and Ruairi left the house with their father.

"That was never his destination,” he said. “It suggested an ulterior motive.

Kathleen Chada with a photograph of her sons Eoghan and Ruairí. Photo: Dylan Vaughan.

"I had a gut feeling there was something terribly wrong here.”

Chada had admitted to embezzling €56,000 from a community fund in the days before the boys went missing, prompting the search to take on a whole new urgency as an alert was issued for his green Ford Focus.

Gardaí later found the CCTV footage of the boys excitedly buying sweets and crisps in a local shop.

The chilling images show Eoghan and Ruairi choosing treats with their father as another unknowing customer browses further down the aisle.

Mayo gardaí were later alerted to a car crash outside Westport in Mayo, where a green Ford Focus had sped into a stone wall.

Chada had just heard the Child Rescue Alert appealing for Eoghan and Ruairi’s return home on the radio.

He called Kathleen from a mobile phone borrowed from someone at the scene, he was trapped in the car but still conscious.

"I got a phone call, I answered. Immediately I knew it was Sanj on the other end of the line,” she said.

"I think he started off the conversation with ‘there’s been a crash’. I was like ‘are the boys okay?’ and he actually said ‘no, they’re dead in the back’.

“I lost it at that point, I collapsed like I was falling into a black hole. How do you tell somebody that their children have been killed?

“All you can ever do is do it with as much care and empathy as is possible – and he didn’t even give me that.”

Superintendent Gary Walsh revealed the horrifying details of the crash, where a witness noticed car seats in the back of the vehicle.

"There was a collision and one [person] noticed car seats. One of the witnesses went to the boot and opened it, and made the shocking, traumatic discovery of Eoghan and Ruairi.”

Chada had murdered his young sons in a laneway near Ballintubber Abbey, gardaí learned.

“Now we had our crime scene. This is the location where Sanjeev Chada murdered his two children. We interviewed him, he was very subdued. He gave very little initially but as time went on he started to divulge more.

“When they didn’t go bowling the boys asked questions, and he said they were going on a camping trip. They were probably content in the car, that they were going camping with their dad.”

“All this time, Sanjeev tried to give the impression the boys’ deaths were very peaceful. But we knew from the post mortem results that wasn’t the case.

“It took a lot of questions to get him to the point of admitting that, ‘okay, this was a more violent encounter in the car than I wanted to tell you initially’.”

Chada had strangled the two boys.

"He decided to play God, he decided the children would be better off dead than alive and finding out he was a thief.”

Kathleen recounts the horrible experience of her ex husband’s murder trial as part of the documentary set to air on RTÉ One on Monday night.

"There’s a part of me that says it would be easier if he was insane, because it would be an answer...

“My husband was insane and he killed our two children as opposed to my husband was evil and narcissistic and chose to take the lives of our two beautiful boys for his own purposes.”

Chada was sentenced to life in prison in October 2014.

Six weeks after she buried her young children, Kathleen discovered a sinister email Chada had written 18 months earlier.

“In it he indicated that he, I, Eoghan and Ruairi were all going to be dead. So in other words, he had planned a murder-suicide.”

The Case I Can’t Forget is on RTE One tonight at 9.35pm.

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