KEYS TO THE FU­TURE FOR FOR HE­LEN

‘SANTA’ BROUGHT O’DRISCOLL FAM­ILY A NEW HOME, AWAY FROM SCENE OF TRAGEDY

The Corkman - - FRONT PAGE - MARIA HER­LIHY

CHARLEVILLE wo­man He­len O’Driscoll (pic­tured) holds the keys to her new home and a fresh start - which ‘Santa’ de­liv­ered to her fam­ily on Christ­mas Day.

He­len and her fam­ily have wanted a new home ever since their son Jonathan (21) mur­dered his two brothers – twins Thomas and Pa­trick (9) – in Septem­ber 2014, be­fore tak­ing his own life. De­liv­ered by Cork Co Coun­cil on De­cem­ber 17, He­len waited un­til Christ­mas to spring the big sur­prise on her sons, Jimmy (9) and Martin (8). “You should have seen their faces. They are just so happy ... es­pe­cially af­ter all the trauma they have been through,” said He­len.

AS Christ­mas pre­sents go it was one to re­mem­ber with hap­pi­ness for the O’Driscoll fam­ily who five years ago lost three sons in a shock­ing dou­ble mur­der-sui­cide.

Thomas and He­len O’Driscoll moved out of their coun­cil home in Charleville where their el­dest son, Jonathan, killed his twin nine year-old brothers, Paddy and Thomas, be­fore tak­ing his own life in Septem­ber 2014.

While the house was ready to move into on De­cem­ber 17 last, the key was de­liv­ered by Santa on Christ­mas morn­ing for their young sons, Jimmy (9) and Martin (8). The two boys wanted a new home for Christ­mas and Santa left a map with all of the di­rec­tions on Christ­mas morn­ing.

They fol­lowed the map to their new house where He­len al­ready had the Christ­mas tree up and all the pre­sents un­der­neath it.

With a beam­ing smile, He­len said: “You should have seen their faces. They are just so happy to be in their own home at last, par­tic­u­larly af­ter all the trauma they have been through.

“They love this house even though we don’t have much in fur­ni­ture of fit­tings, we are thrilled to be here. There is a very large gar­den and the boys have free­dom to play ball, cy­cle their bikes and en­joy their own space.”

Few will for­get the hor­rific crime which shocked the na­tion on Septem­ber 4, 2014.

An in­quest heard that Jonathan had col­lected his four brothers from school and crèche while his par­ents were in Water­ford col­lect­ing a present for the twins’ birth­day that af­ter­noon.

As the twins were chang­ing out of their school uni­form in their bed­rooms, they were stabbed over 40 times each and their bod­ies were found by their par­ents.

Jonathan left the home and took his own life at a se­cluded spot on the banks of the Aw­beg River in But­te­vant and the knives were found in the river.

The in­quest heard that a re­la­tion­ship breakup, the sui­cide of a close cousin, his quest for in­for­ma­tion about his birth fam­ily, and con­cerns over a pend­ing court ap­pear­ance linked to a mi­nor road traf­fic of­fence had all com­bined to send Jonathan into a de­pres­sion. The in­quest also heard that Jonathan had a num­ber of psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders.

And de­spite some in­ter­mit­tent en­gage­ment with the men­tal health ser­vices and an im­prove­ment in his men­tal health in the weeks be­fore the mur­der-sui­cide, it emerged that he had stopped tak­ing his med­i­ca­tion just days be­fore he stabbed his twin brothers to death.

Af­ter the hor­rific dou­ble mur­der-sui­cide, the fam­ily never moved back to the house. Since the boys’ funeral Thomas and He­len were re­peat­edly promised that the old house, in which they be­lieve the spir­its of their twins still wan­der, would be knocked down and that they would be given a new home.

He­len lived in rented ac­com­mo­da­tion and with rel­a­tives and friends so that her sons could stay at their lo­cal school, while Thomas stayed in a mo­bile home be­hind the house to be close to his dead sons.

Photo: John De­lea

He­len, with her hus­band Tom, at their new home in Charleville.

Martin and Jimmy with Princess, their 3yr old Chi­huahua, in their new home.

The O’Driscolls for­mer home, scene of the tragedy in 2014.

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