The inquest into the deaths of Eoghan and Ruairí Chada, who were killed by their father last year, has heard how the little brothers were discovered side by side in the boot of a crashed car.
Eoghan (10) and five-year-old Ruairí Chada died on July 29, 2013 at the hands of their father Sanjeev. He was jailed for life last month for the murders. Mayo coroner John O'Dwyer said the inquest could now proceed as there had been no appeal against the conviction.
Speaking at their inquest today, witness Sean Foy told the boy's mother, Kathleen Chada, that the brothers were lying side by side with their legs pulled up.
"They seemed to be at peace," he told the heartbroken mother.
Mandy Semple, from Newport in Mayo, was one of the first people to come upon the accident. She told the inquest that at around 3.15pm on July 30 of last year she saw the car driven by Chada drive straight across the road in front of her and crash into the wall. Her first thought was that the brakes had failed in his car.
"The driver was rocking backwards and forwards in the drivers seat with his head in his hands," she said.
Ms Semple tried to ring 999 twice but couldn't get through. A neighbour rushed to his home to make the call. As passers-by stopped to help, they attempted to speak to Chada. "I remember the driver of the car say "They are after me"," she said.
Witnesses told how Chada had a piece of blue rope which he had been tightening around his neck. One of the men managed to take it from him. Ms Semple told of the horror witnesses felt when the children were discovered in the car boot.
"This man from Northern Ireland or England said he would check the boot of the car. He opened the boot of the car and he was standing directly behind the car.
"He bent into the boot and just said "Oh My God" or something like that. I could sense horror in his voice and I looked into the boot. I saw two little boys in the boot of the car.
"The two little boys appeared lifeless and I just thought they were dead," she said.
Sean Foy who also came on the scene told the inquest that as he attempted to help the driver he realised the man had a "blue rope tied around his neck with a knot on it."
"He seemed to be quiet at that stage. I presumed at that stage he was taking the rope off. In fact he loosened the rope, the original knot which appeared to be a hangman's noose.
"When he had the rope opened he suddenly double- wrapped it around his neck holding one end in his left hand and one end in his right hand and appeared to be trying to choke himself. I shouted at him 'what are you doing, what are you doing'," said Mr Foy.
The witnesses struggled with Chada and managed to grab the rope from him after hitting him on the side of the head. After removing the rope from him Chada asked for a phone and made a phonecall.
It was then that Mr Foy and another man, Sean O'Malley, opened the boot of the car.
"To our horror we saw two children who were dead. I put my hand on the nearest child the youngest child's leg and it was cold," he said.
The inquest held before a jury of five men and one woman heard statements from 16 witnesses. Garda Brian Kilkelly of Westport Garda Station was the first garda at the scene. He told the inquest the two boys had been facing each other.