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Friday 28 July 2017

'Mental health issues are rampant', says family of dad in murder-suicide

Marie and Jim Quigley
Marie and Jim Quigley

The children of Jim and Marie Quigley, who died in a murder- suicide, have said Ireland is "rampant" with mental health issues which "should not be ignored".

In a statement issued after yesterday's inquests into their parents' deaths, they said they have lived with "this tragedy every minute of every day".

Their mother, Marie, was found dead in her bedroom and their father, Jim, died after driving his car into the path of an articulated lorry on the M1 motorway.

It is believed that Mr Quigley murdered his wife before taking his own life.

Feeling

Dundalk Coroner's Court heard that the couple's son, Kieran, had a bad feeling when his father did not turn up to meet him in Dundalk on July 27, 2015.

He rang his parents' phones but no one answered, so he went to the family home at Newtownbalregan, outside Dundalk. He thought his father might have had a heart attack.

When he arrived at the house he saw the blinds were down in his parents' bedrooms - his mother was an early riser and always pulled up her blind.

The back door was locked, so he opened the front door and went upstairs.

His father's bedroom was empty, but his mother's door was locked. He called his mother's phone and could hear it ringing in the locked room.

He rang 999 and family members. His uncle and cousin arrived and the three of them tried to open the door.

When they got into the room, Kieran said he could see a blanket over somebody and "there was blood all over the place".

"It was the most devastating moment in my life," he told gardai.

Supt Brian Mohan, then an inspector based in Dundalk, said Mrs Quigley's body was lying across the bed and was partially covered.

She had suffered severe head injuries and a towel was stuck in her mouth. The doctor on call pronounced her dead at the scene.

State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy performed a post-mortem examination and said Mrs Quigley had been the victim of a violent attack while in bed.

She had suffered blunt force trauma to the head with an object such as a hammer and had been struck more than a dozen times.

She had stab wounds to her face and neck and there was a scalding injury to her face as well as bruising to both her hands.

Prof Cassidy concluded that death was due to instrumental blunt force trauma to the head and obstruction of the airways because of a gag.

She said death would have been rapid and within minutes of the assault.

Crush

The inquest heard that Mr Quigley had driven on the hard shoulder of the M1 south of Dundalk and had then crashed into an articulated lorry.

Gda Fiona Dunne said she received a call from an off-duty garda at 2.21pm.

She said that when she arrived at the crash site the driver had extensive injuries and he was pronounced dead at the scene by a local GP.

He was formally identified using DNA evidence.

Prof Cassidy said her post-mortem concluded that Mr Quigley had driven into the path of the lorry and his death, which was instantaneous, was due to crush injuries.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing for Mrs Quigley and an open verdict for her husband.

The gardai, coroner and jury expressed their sympathies to the couple's family.

In a statement issued through their solicitor, Kieran, Sonya, Mark and Gavin Quigley said: "The sense of losing both parents is overwhelming and we are living with this tragedy every minute of every day. We can only pray time will ease the heartache and heal our souls.

"We hope people can understand what we have been through and hope that when today concludes, our grieving can progress and we ask the media to respect our privacy.

Medication

"We lived with our father's mental illness all our lives. In recent years our father had some major physical problems and coupled with the enormous medication along with his mental health problems, we now know he was beyond helping.

"Jim was a loving father and husband, and Marie a dearly loved and devoted wife and mother who supported Jim throughout his illness.

"Mental health is a form of disease which is sometimes not visibly noticeable and which this country is rampant with, but it should not be ignored."

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