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'Terrible thing' Local man tells of moment he discovered scene of family murder-suicide in Co Kerry

John entered the home that evening to find his neighbours - a mother in her 60s and her son in his 20s - dead in their beds having been shot.

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Gardaí at the scene of a suspected murder-suicide in Kerry. Photo: Dominick Walsh

Gardaí at the scene of a suspected murder-suicide in Kerry. Photo: Dominick Walsh

Gardaí at the scene of a suspected murder-suicide in Kerry. Photo: Dominick Walsh

The neighbour who discovered the family victims of last night’s tragic shooting in a bungalow at Ballyreehan in Lixnaw, Co Kerry, has said no one should have to witness what he did.

Speaking to the The Kerryman this morning, local farmer John Mahony visited the home of his neighbours at around 8.30pm on Tuesday evening when suspicions were raised after the front door of the house had been left open for several hours.

Two neighbours approached John earlier that evening to say they had not seen the woman of the house all day.

John entered the home that evening to find his neighbours - a mother in her 60s and her son in his 20s - dead in their beds having been shot.

“They [neighbours] said the door was left open so they asked me to go over and see was there anything wrong. I hopped into the jeep and drove over, not thinking anything. When I went into the house, I found them, both were in their beds…it’s a terrible thing for any neighbour to have to witness,” John said.

John left the house and immediately phoned the guards as he could not find his other neighbour, the third party connected with the incident.

“I rang them [guards] and they said, ‘stay where you are and don’t go looking for him’. So, they came out and found him up the road in a neighbour’s field.

“I was only talking to him Sunday night... you couldn’t see anything like this coming,” he said.

“The family were the soundest crowd you could meet; we can't believe this is after happening,” said John.

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The scene of the double murder suicide in Ballyreehan, Lixnaw where a mother, father and son were found dead last night. Photo by Domnick Walsh.

The scene of the double murder suicide in Ballyreehan, Lixnaw where a mother, father and son were found dead last night. Photo by Domnick Walsh.

The scene of the double murder suicide in Ballyreehan, Lixnaw where a mother, father and son were found dead last night. Photo by Domnick Walsh.

The deceased man in his 60s was well-known in the locality for keeping sheep which were grazed in lands around Lixnaw and Crotta. He also kept bees and sold jars of honey on the side as a hobby.

A keen hurler, he played with Lixnaw and won a minor championship with the club. His son was also a keen hurler having played for the neighbouring parish club, Crotta O’Neills.

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John added: “You could approach them anytime and they were always so obliging. We’re all devastated as a community. The reaction is that we just can't believe this has happened.”

The State Pathologist and Garda Technical Bureau are attending the scene today before the remains of all three victims will be taken to University Hospital Kerry.

The scene remains cordoned off as gardai conduct door-to-door enquiries in the area.

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