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Triple tragedy GSOC to review Cork double murder-suicide over call made to brother before killings

Following the conversation, Gardaí were satisfied that concerns brought to their attention by another individual did not warrant sending a patrol car to the property.

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Paddy Hennessy

Paddy Hennessy

Paddy Hennessy

THE Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is to review a Cork double murder-suicide after it emerged at least one of the brothers involved had contact with Gardaí in the hours before the horrific triple tragedy.

The contact - in the form of a phone call on Thursday evening - involved the brothers assuring Mitchelstown Gardaí that a disagreement was being amicably resolved and there was no need for uniformed officers to attend the 25 acre family farm at Corragorm some 8km from the north Cork town.

The Sunday World revealed today that suspected axe-killer Johnny Hennessy rang a third party on the evening of the killings saying there was "awful fighting" going on at the 17-acre property.

The recipient of this phone call is understood to have subsequently notified gardaí. An officer then contacted Johnny, the youngest of the three Hennessy brothers, by phone.

During the call, 59-year-old Johnny is said to have assured gardaí that the earlier row had been resolved and insisted there was no need for an officer to visit the property.

Following the conversation, Gardaí were satisfied that concerns brought to their attention by another individual did not warrant sending a patrol car to the property.

It is understood that at no stage were fears raised with Gardaí that any brother was under threat or that there was any suggestion of violence being involved in the family disagreement.

However, several hours later, the bodies of Willie (66) and Paddy 'Pa' Hennessy (60) were discovered at the farm after a relative called to ensure everything was alright amid concern that Pa had not returned to his Mitchelstown home.

A third brother, Johnny Hennessy (59), was later recovered from the River Funshion.

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Paddy and Willie Hennessy Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Paddy and Willie Hennessy Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Paddy and Willie Hennessy Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

A GSOC spokesperson confirmed they are now reviewing the matter.

"GSOC received a referral on Friday from a Garda Superintendent related to possible contact between An Garda Síochána and one of the deceased prior to the incident," they said.

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"The referral was made under Section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005. The matter is now under examination by GSOC."

Pa was found with severe head injuries in the farmyard where the brothers operated a firewood business and raised dry cattle.

Willie was found with similar severe head injuries in a nearby shed.

Both had suffered blunt force trauma injuries to the head after being struck repeatedly with an axe. The two brothers were pronounced dead at the scene.

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Garda forensics fly a drone near the farm off the Mitchelstown to Mallow Road outside Kildorrery, co. Cork where the bodies of two brothers in their 60s were discovered. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Garda forensics fly a drone near the farm off the Mitchelstown to Mallow Road outside Kildorrery, co. Cork where the bodies of two brothers in their 60s were discovered. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Garda forensics fly a drone near the farm off the Mitchelstown to Mallow Road outside Kildorrery, co. Cork where the bodies of two brothers in their 60s were discovered. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Johnny, who lived at the farmhouse, was not present and his car was missing.

His Toyota Corolla van was found parked near Killacluig Church, some 4km away, on Friday morning.

After a major manhunt involving Garda search teams, the Garda dog unit, the Garda helicopter and the Garda water unit, his body was located at lunchtime a short distance away in the River Funshion.

The three brothers had lost another brother, Jer, to a family tragedy in 2014.

A nephew had also died in tragic circumstances in 2012.

Post mortem examinations were conducted on all three brothers over the weekend at Cork University Hospital (CUH) by Locum State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.

The findings are being withheld for operational reasons but it is understood Willie and Pa died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries to the head consistent with blows from a heavy axe.

A blood-stained axe was found a short distance from where the first two bodies were discovered.

Johnny is believed to have died from drowning.

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