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Heartbroken mother stands with suicide dad's family at funeral

A YOUNG mother whose three-year-old daughter was drowned by her husband, who then killed himself, stood with his family at their joint funeral today.

Rebecca Bailey-Cejnar (26) stood side by side with her own family and the family of her husband, Martin McCarthy (50), as the west Cork community bid their final farewells today.

Rebecca's family flew in from California to lend their support – it's understood they are now hoping Rebecca will travel with them back to the US after the tragedy of losing her only child.

Mr McCarthy and the daughter he described as his "princess", Clarissa (three), were laid out side-by-side in the parlour of the family's isolated farmhouse at Foilnamuc outside Ballydehob last night.

Today, they were laid out together in St Mary's Church in Schull as Requiem Mass is said by Fr Alan O'Leary.

 

Vigil

Rebecca's mother, Linda Jean Bailey, flew to Ireland from Los Angeles with her sister to support her daughter.

Standing beside Rebecca in St Mary's Church were members of the McCarthy family led by Martin's sister, Hester O'Brien, and her husband, Billy.

Together with the Baileys, they had maintained a vigil at the farmhouse.

Clarissa's mother discovered a note left by Mr McCarthy in the family home on Tuesday evening and was so horrified by its contents she immediately alerted Gardai.

A massive search operation involving gardai, RNLI and the Irish Coastguard located both bodies within three hours.

Clarissa's body was discovered on the shore of Audley Cove while her father's body was discovered some 200m offshore near a rocky island.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene and tests indicated both died from drowning.

The note left by Mr McCarthy was lengthy and exceptionally emotional. It set out his plans for his daughter and himself.

The two bodies were returned to the Foilnamuc farmhouse from Cork University Hospital (CUH) in the early hours of yesterday morning following the completion of post mortem examinations.

A procession of neighbours, friends and relatives called to the house to express their sympathy to Rebecca.

Ballydehob curate Fr Joseph Spillane issued a special appeal for forgiveness at this morning's Mass. Fr Spillane spoke briefly of the tragedy and of the vulnerability of little Clarissa.

hnews@herald.ie


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