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laid to rest Sister attends private funeral of Corkman at centre of murder-suicide tragedy

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The remains of John Hennessy are removed for burial following his funeral in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The remains of John Hennessy are removed for burial following his funeral in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The remains of John Hennessy are removed for burial following his funeral in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

A man at the centre of a family murder-suicide has been laid to rest next to his brother, who died tragically seven years ago.

Following a private funeral service in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, John Hennessy was buried next to his brother Jer, who died by suicide in 2014.

John (59) is believed to have attacked and killed his brothers Willie and Paddy before taking his own life in a family tragedy that unfolded last week.

The bodies of Willie (66) and Paddy (60) were found at the family home at Curraghgorm on the outskirts of Mitchelstown last Friday morning.

The body of their younger brother John (59) was recovered from the nearby river Funshion a few hours later. Jer Hennessy died by drowning in the same river.

The brothers leave behind their only remaining sibling, Breda, who attended today’s service with her husband and daughter.

Paddy’s daughter Elaine was also present, alongside several other family members.

Numbers inside the Church of Our Lady Conceived Without Sin in Mitchelstown were restricted to 10 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The service lasted just over 30 minutes, with three neighbours standing outside to pay their respects as the hearse was taken to Brigown cemetery.

Around 30 people had gathered at John’s burial place and prayers were said over the coffin before the crowd dispersed.

Details of the funeral had been kept strictly private, with many locals unaware it was taking place.

In a funeral notice posted on Rip.ie, John is described as the “beloved son of the late Thomas and Eily (McCarthy) and brother of the late Jerry”.

He will be remembered by his sister Breda (O’Reilly, Anglesboro), brother-in-law Ned, nieces Elaine & Lisa, grandnephews Jack, Danny, Logan and Caleb, grandniece Halle, relatives, neighbours and friends, the notice said.

Paddy is described as the “beloved father of Elaine and the late Paudie and devoted grandad to Jack, Danny, Logan and Halle”.

He will be deeply mourned by his daughter, her mother Stephanie, Paddy’s partner Kitty Russell, grandchildren, mother-in-law May Devonshire, sister Breda (O’Reilly, Anglesboro), brother-in-law Ned, niece Lisa, grandnephew Caleb, relatives, neighbours and friends, the notice said.

In a notice for Willie, he is described as the “beloved son of the late Thomas and Eily (nee McCarthy) and brother of the late Jerry”.

“Deeply mourned by his loving sister Breda (O’Reilly, Anglesboro), brother-in-law Ned, nieces Elaine and Lisa, grandnephews Jack, Danny, Logan and Caleb grandniece Halle, relatives, neighbours and friends.” the notice said.

Gardaí believe from checking phone records that John may have killed his brothers by 6pm on Thursday before driving away from the farm in his Toyota Carolla van at about 10pm to Killacluig near where his body was recovered from the river Funcheon at about 1.30pm on Friday.

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. John died from drowning.

The funerals of Wille and Paddy will take place tomorrow. Paddy will be laid to rest next to his son, Paudie, who died by suicide in 2012 and Willie will be buried in a nearby plot.

Gardaí from Mitchelstown had spoken to John at about 6pm after they were contacted by a family member in Co Limerick to say that he had been in touch and had not sounded very coherent. However, when gardaí rang John, he assured them everything was okay.

Gardaí accepted his assurance and did not call to the family farm. The matter has been referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) because gardaí were in contact with somebody who later died. Gsoc will examine phone records to try to establish whether or not John may have already killed his two brothers when he spoke to gardaí.

Gardaí are appealing for anyone who has information in relation to the incident to come forward.

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