Double-killing of elderly couple was ‘unspeakable tragedy’, inquest hears

first_imgGraphic content wanting: An inquest into the brutal double-killing of an elderly Donegal couple has heard how they died of severe head trauma.Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy, from Carndonagh, died on Wednesday, October 23, 2014, after their son, Julian, killed them. Julian was later found not guilty of murdering them by reason of insanity and is currently being detained in the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum.Chief State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy said the couple both suffered severe head trauma due to ‘chop injuries’ inflicted with an axe.She concluded that Mrs. Cuddihy’s death would have been ‘instantaneous’, however, Mr. Cuddihy showed signs of trying to defend himself, with defensive wounds being discovered on his body.Prof. Cassidy said she attended the scene of the murder at the Cuddihy’s home at Churchtown, Carn, on Thursday, October 24.She said Mr. Cuddihy was found, face up, in a pool of blood in the kitchen, while the body of his wife, Kathleen, was in the hallway.Prof. Cassidy said both had ‘severe and significant injuries’.Julian Cuddihy, 42, arriving at a special sitting in Ballyshannon District CourtA port mortem investigation, which was carried out at Letterkenny General Hospital the following day, revealed that Mr. Cuddihy had a fractured skull.She said he had been struck at least four times with a heavy instrument, adding that they had been inflicted in ‘rapid succession’ while he was more than likely on the ground.Prof. Cassidy said these injuries alone would have been enough to cause his death but in addition to this, he also received six stab wounds, with a smaller instrument, to his face and neck.She said these were ‘shallow wounds’.Mr. Cuddihy also received ‘puncture wounds’ to his right artery. Prof. Cassidy revealed that the retired Carn School teacher was on warfarin, which would have made him bleed more, adding that he also suffered from heart disease.However she said this had no impact on his death as the head injuries he sustained would have been significant enough to kill a younger fit man, who no heart condition.Prof. Cassidy noted that Mr. Cuddihy also had bruising and scraps to his arm, which indicated defensive wounds caused during the attack.The State Pathologist said all of Mr. Cuddihy’s injuries were consistent with injuries caused by an axe, knife and scissors found at the scene.She concluded that cause of dead was severe head trauma as result of chop injuries.Prof. Cassidy also conducted the post mortem of Mrs. Cuddihy on the same day in Letterkenny.She said Mrs. Cuddihy, a retired nurse and charity volunteer, had an instant death. She said Mrs. Cuddihy’s post mortem revealed that she had one severe ‘chop injury’ to the top of her head, which would have knocked her to the ground. She then received six more of these injuries to the left hand side of her head. Like Mr. Cuddihy these were sustained in rapid succession.Prof. Cassidy outlined that Mrs. Cuddihy received no other blows to her body other than these seven blows to the head.She concluded that Mrs. Cuddihy’s death was due to severe head trauma due to the chop injuries she sustained.In both victims, Prof. Cassidy found that the couple died after they had eaten a potato based meal.*********THE deaths of Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy will forever be engrained in the minds of the local Gardai who attended the scene and who were involved in the investigation.Garda Inspector David Murphy said Gardaí serving in Inishowen on October 24, 2014, were met with ‘an unimaginable scene’ when they attended the Cuddihy home. He described the local couple’s killing as an ‘unspeakable tragedy’ for the Cuddihy family.Speaking at the conclusion of the inquest into their death, Insp. Murphy said the date of their death will forever be engrained in the family’s mind. However he said it would also be engrained in his mind and the minds of other Gardai involved in the investigation.“This was an unspeakable tragedy for the entire Cuddihy family and I would like to extend my sympathies and condolences to them,” said Insp. Murphy.“This tragedy stunned everyone.”Insp. Murphy paid tribute to the members of an Garda Síochana involved, saying they pursued Julian not knowing what they could meet, as he ‘wasn’t in a proper state of mind’.He also acknowledged Fr. George McLaughlin who attended the scene and provided a service for the family.**********Son killed parents ‘while the balance of his mind was disturbed’INISHOWEN’S coroner ruled that a popular Carn couple were killed by their son, ‘while the balance of his mind was disturbed’.Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy were killed at their home in Churchtown, Carndonagh, on October 23, 2014. Their son, Julian, was charged with their murder, however after a criminal trial in Dublin, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.Speaking at the inquest into Mr. and Mrs. Cuddihy’s death, Dr. John Madden said the usual protocol in these types of cases was that a jury would come in and a verdict of unlawful killing would be found. However as Julian was found not guilty by reason of insanity, Dr. Madden said there was no need for jury and instead he would find an unusual ‘narrative verdict’. He said that both Mr and Mrs. Cuddihy were killed by their son Julian ‘while the balance of his mind was disturbed’.He said the death of the Cuddihys had shocked ‘not just Inishowen but also the whole of Ireland and beyond’.“I cannot understand what was going through Julian’s mind that day,” said Dr. Madden.“But this shocked everyone. I sympathise with the entire Cuddihy family, and I would include Julian in that. He is in hospital now, getting treatment and getting better so I’m sure he must be horrified with what he has done.”Poignantly Dr. Madden said he had known the Cuddihys since he moved to Carndonagh in 1973 and one of their daughters had even babysat his children at a stage. He said Jimmy and his son James had been at his house two weeks before his death fixing a gate.“Everyone knew Jimmy from his sociable outlook and from his teaching at the secondary school,” added Dr. Madden.The coroner and retired GP also worked with Mrs. Cuddihy when she was a nurse.He added that he hoped the conclusion of the inquest brought some closure to the Cuddihy family and allow them to get on with their lives.On behalf of the Cuddihy family, James Cuddihy Jr said he would like to thank Dr. Madden and the Gardaí for the ‘professional manner’ in which they conducted the investigation and inquest.*******The Cuddihys were their ‘normal selves’ before their death – inquest heardTHE last people to see Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy before they died told their inquest that they were their normal selves before the tragedy that befell them.Mairead Porter Cuddihy, Jimmy and Kathleen’s daughter in law, said she was working in her and her husband’s building and engineering company behind the Cuddihy family home on Wednesday, October 23, when Kathleen rang her to say the dinner was ready.Mrs Porter Cuddihy said she called down to the house and collected two plates of dinner and brought it back up to the office for her and husband, James Cuddihy Jnr.She said they ate the dinner in the office and about five minutes later they received another phone call from Kathleen to ask if they wanted more potatoes, but they didn’t.Mrs. Porter Cuddihy said it was around 6.20pm when she collected the dinner from the home where she spoke with Mrs. Cuddihy. She noted however that she did not see her father-in-law, Jimmy, in the kitchen at this time.Meanwhile, Mrs. Mary McLaughlin Farren, who worked with Kathleen in the Good as New Shop in Carn, said she saw Jimmy around 5.20pm or 5.30pm.Mrs. McLaughlin Farren said she knew Kathleen since she was a child and they worked together in the Good as New shop in Malin and then Carn. She said Jimmy would normally leave her home to Malin every evening after they closed the shop. On the day of the couple’s death, Jimmy collected her as normal and took her home. She said her and Kathleen were a bit late in closing the shop that evening. She added that Jimmy was his ‘normal self’ and was driving the family car.*********‘I saw my mother laying in the corridor – I fell to the ground and screamed’THE SON and daughter of Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy said they ‘knew something was wrong’ when they couldn’t contact their parents, the day they were killed.Delilah Cuddihy told an inquest into their death, that she left her work straight away when she couldn’t contact her father on Thursday, October 24, 2014.She said she arrived at school that morning around 9am when she received a phone call from her sister-in-law to say she couldn’t get a hold of her father, Jimmy. He was supposed to take her to hospital that morning for an appointment.Giving evidence at their inquest in Carndonagh on Thursday, Ms. Cuddihy said it was ‘very unusual’ that her father’s phone was going straight to voicemail when she called him. She said she left school and drove straight to her parent’s house a short distance away.Similarly, her brother James Cuddihy, whose business is situated behind the Cuddihy family home, said he ‘knew something was wrong’ when he tried ringing them but couldn’t get them. He said the back door of the house was always open, but on this occasion it was locked and the blinds were closed.Mr. Cuddihy said he had also went to the Good as New Shop that his mother had been volunteering in but this was also closed.James called Delilah and when she came to the house he helped her to climb in a window, unaware what she was about to see inside. He said all he could here was screaming from inside the house then.“When I got to the house I met my brother James, he said the door was locked,” explained Ms. Cuddihy.“We found an open window and I got him to give me a leg up and I went in through the window. I found my mother laying in the corridor, I fell to the ground and screamed. I panicked and turned, went back into mammy and daddy’s bedroom and climbed out the window. I lay down on the concrete and screamed,” her statement read.Her brother James explained how he then tried to break down the back door but his legs were like jelly so he got one of his employees, Paddy Nelson to break it down instead.“I think I went into the house first,” he told the inquest. “I found my parents bodies, I knew they were dead, there was no need to check for a pulse.”Delilah said her brother came running out of the family home with his hands on his head, she said ‘oh Jesus is dad there?’ but her brother informed her they were both dead.This report originally appeared in this week’s Inishowen Independent newspaper and is reproduced by kind permission.Double-killing of elderly couple was ‘unspeakable tragedy’, inquest hears was last modified: July 27th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:axeCarndonaghdonegalInishoweninquestJulian Cuddihylast_img

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