Tallaght stabbings: Suspect previously investigated for attack on three victims’ relative

Detectives are continuing to quiz a 24-year-old man in relation to the killing of twins Chelsea and Christy Cawley (8) and their older sister Lisa Cash (18)

Lisa Cash (centre) with twins Chelsea and Christy Cawley.

Chelsea and Christy Cawley (8) and their sister Lisa Cash (18) were killed yesterday. Photos: Gardaí.


The chief suspect for the murder of three siblings in Tallaght had previously been investigated for attacking a member of the children’s family and is believed to have made threat against them in the past.

Detectives are continuing to quiz a 24-year-old man in relation to the killing of twins Chelsea and Christy Cawley (8) and their older sister Lisa Cash (18) in the early hours of Sunday morning.

All three had suffered stab wounds while gardaí believe the twins were thrown from an upstairs window during the frenzied attack.

Sources have said that the suspect, who was known to the victims, had previously been investigated in relation to an assault against a member of the children’s family but wasn’t convicted of the crime.

It’s understood he had also previously made threats against the family and had been linked to number of drink-fuelled incidents including criminal damage.

He was also known to local gardaí for offences including theft and burglary but has no major previous convictions.

Gardaí are currently consulting with the Director of Public Prosecutions and a decision on whether to charge the suspect must be made later today.

Emergency services were alerted to the property on Rossfield Avenue shortly after midnight on Sunday.

Gardaí from the Armed Support Unit (ASU) used non-lethal devices to subdue the man at the scene, who during a stand-off also hid in an unconverted attic in the property, before he was later arrested.

Detectives at Tallaght garda station are continuing to establish the events that led to the shocking murders, and at this stage believe the suspect was socialising at a house in Clondalkin before a row developed.

He then left the property and travelled to the Rossfield area in a taxi, where he is suspected of carrying out the horrific attack.

Neighbours reported hearing a female shouting “help me” and hearing windows smashing, while also witnessing gardaí attempt to apprehend the violent suspect.

Both Chelsea and Christy Cawley were recovered by gardaí outside the property having been stabbed multiple times before being thrown from a smashed upstairs window.

Paramedics and doctors tried desperately to save the twins as they were rushed to Crumlin Children’s Hospital but tragically they were later pronounced dead.

After the ASU gained entry to the house they discovered Lisa Cash at the bottom of the stairs. She was also pronounced dead in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Flowers at the scene of a fatal Incident in Rossfield, Tallaght. Photo: Mark Condren

Another 14-year-old brother managed to flee the property and notified relatives. He remained in Tallaght Hospital last night where he was being treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries.

The victim’s mother, aged in her 40s, was also hospitalised for medical treatment but was discharged yesterday to be supported by family members.

One resident became emotional as he recalled seeing one of the young children being dropped from an upstairs window by the suspect.

“They were lovely, mannerly kids, they would have played with my grandchildren. Only the other day they were passing by, just being kids, and now this happened. It just doesn’t make any sense,” the man aged in his 60s said.

Dozens of floral tributes were also left at the scene yesterday, with one message reading: “Fly high little angels, our hearts are broken for you all”.

Chelsea and Christy Cawley (8) and their sister Lisa Cash (18) were killed yesterday. Photos: Gardaí.

Bystander footage also showed gardaí arriving on scene and shouting at the suspect “don’t do it” before a window can be heard smashing.

Responding gardaí can also be heard calling the suspects name and telling him “show us your f****** hands” while a woman is screaming in the background.

Gardaí said that the suspect was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984, under which he can be detained for a period of up to 24 hours. It’s understood he required hospital treatment before being taken into garda custody.

A Garda spokesman also said they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident at this time.

“Gardaí in Tallaght have established an Incident room and all the circumstances of this incident are being investigated under the direction of a Senior Investigating Officer.

“The scene in Rossfield Estate remains sealed off and a Forensic Examination will commence later today by the Garda Technical Bureau.”

Post-mortems were also expected to take place between yesterday and today by State Pathologist Dr Sally Anne Collis.

The incident was also described by gardaí as “violent, challenging and traumatic” with its members who were present being provided with welfare supports.

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