Boys were killed with a kitchen knife
TWIN brothers Patrick and Thomas O'Driscoll were stabbed to death in separate attacks at their home as they changed out of their school uniforms.
The revelation came as gardai recovered a kitchen knife believed to have been used in the attacks shortly before 5pm on Thursday at the family's home at Charleville, Co Cork.
The matter is being treated as a murder-suicide following the discovery of the body of their older brother, Jonathan (21), in woodland 15km from the family home.
He had taken his own life.
Patrick 'Paddy' and Thomas 'TomTom' O'Driscoll died before they could be rushed to hospital.
The alarm was raised by the twins' five and three-year-old siblings who were playing outside.
Both children immediately ran to a neighbour's house when they realised something was terribly wrong in their home. The twins were killed as they changed out of their blue school uniforms having left Banogue National School, 10km from their home, at 3.30pm.
The boys were collected by Jonathan who first took them to Doneraile Park before driving them home to Deerpark.
An hour after the twins were found stabbed, their big brother was found dead in a wooded area outside Buttevant by three young people, one of them a Spanish exchange student on only her second day in Ireland.
A kitchen knife was discovered nearby.
Charleville curate Fr Tom Naughton said the community was struggling to come to terms with "a heart-rending tragedy".
"The death of any child in a situation like this is not a natural thing. To lose three children is beyond words," he said.
Fr Naughton said the family's faith and the support of their Charleville family and community will help them in the difficult days ahead.
The triple tragedy came only 24 hours after the second anniversary of the killing of eight-year-old Anthony Ward in Charleville by his mother, Diane.
The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, said last night that the entire diocese was shocked by Thursday's tragedy.
"I pray that the Lord will strengthen the family during this terrible time," he said.
"I also ask the priests and people of the diocese to pray for Thomas and Helen, for their surviving children, their extended family and for the community of Charleville."