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Cork inquest Hearing into suspected murder-suicide deaths of three brothers to get underway later today

Paddy (60) and Willie Hennessy (66) were found dead at their family farm near Mitchelstown in February while the body of brother Johnny (59) was subsequently discovered in a nearby river

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Paddy Hennessy (right) with his brother Willie

Paddy Hennessy (right) with his brother Willie

Paddy Hennessy (right) with his brother Willie

An inquest into the suspected murder-suicide deaths of three brothers in Co Cork earlier this year is to get underway later today. 

Paddy (60) and 66-year-old Willie Hennessy were found dead at their family farm near Mitchelstown in February.

Their brother Johnny, who was 59-years-of-age, was subsequently found dead in a nearby river.

The inquest that will open in Mallow this morning will examine the events surrounding the incident at Curraghgorm on February 26.

It is believed that Willie and Paddy were killed at Johnny’s home before Johnny later took his own life.

He was found dead in the River Funshion on Friday, February 27, around 5km away from his home.

It followed a search that resulted in the discovery of a car he had been driving close to Killacluig church, outside Mitchelstown.

Post-mortem examinations were conducted on the men at Cork University Hospital by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster. The results were not released for operational reasons.

However, it is understood that Willie and Paddy died of injuries consistent with an assault with an axe. The men suffered shock and haemorrhage associated with trauma from head injuries. Johnny died from drowning.

Paddy’s daughter Elaine and her mother, Stephanie, Paddy’s ex-wife, made the horrific discovery at the farm after they became concerned when he failed to return to Elaine’s home in Mitchelstown.

Armed gardaí rushed to the scene believing a gun may have been used and it was initially treated as a possible armed incident. They carried out a search of the property where the brothers grew up and found the body of Willie. An axe was discovered nearby.

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It had been suggested that the bothers may have argued over matters relating to the family farm, including the sales of felled trees and some livestock. Local speculation also pointed to financial stress compounded by isolation as a result of the pandemic.

However, a source close to the garda investigation said there has been “no major developments” in establishing what prompted the attack.

They said many theories had been put forward, but gardaí “still haven’t been able to say exactly what happened”.

“There is still no definitive line of investigation or motive at the moment,” said the source. “We may never know what happened.”

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