THE heartbroken mother of two young boys murdered by their father has thanked staff at Mayo hospital for looking after her sons when she couldn't be with them.
Kathleen Chada sat through the inquest into the deaths of Eoghan (10) and five-year-old Ruairi at Castlebar Courthouse yesterday, reliving with witnesses the harrowing moments when the children were discovered in the boot of their father's crashed car.
Eoghan and Ruairi died on July 29, 2013 at Skehanagh Lower, Balintubber in Co Mayo. Their father Sanjeev was jailed for life last month for the murders. Their inquest heard how the young brothers were found lying side by side facing each other in the boot of the crashed Ford Focus by passers-by who had come to Chada's aid in Westport the following day.
Both boys had been strangled, with Eoghan also suffering a blunt force trauma to the head prior to his death.
Their father Sanjeev Chada, who had ran up gambling debts, had told his wife he was taking their sons bowling in Carlow, but instead drove to Mayo where he strangled the boys with a rope before trying kill himself.
During his trial the Central Criminal Court was told that Chada used €56,000 from a community centre fund to gamble on the stock market.
Chada had borrowed from family and friends and the court was told he had racked up €500,000 in debt from gambling other people's money.
Yesterday a jury at the Coroner's court returned verdicts of unlawful death for both boys.
Speaking after the verdict, Kathleen Chada had a special word of thanks for those who are watched over her boys before they could finally be brought back home to her.
"I thank all the staff in Mayo General Hospital and particularly Sean and Martin in the morgue, who looked after my boys when I couldn't be with them. They left a light on and I understand they were never left alone," she said.
She expressed her thanks to all the members of the gardai involved in Eoghan and Ruairi's case over the last 16 months.
"The care, respect and dignity I have been given has made a very difficult process just a little bit easier.
"I also thank Fr [Frank] Fahey in Ballintubber and Fr Charlie McDonnell in Westport along with the many, many people of Mayo who have taken the boys into their hearts and given me support from afar," she said.
Kathleen also revealed how those who had come on the scene were always in her thoughts.
"I want all those who arrived on the scene of the crash to know I think of them and pray for them often. Again, I know my boys were treated with dignity and respect in what must have been a very difficult time," she added.
"Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends and wider community both in Carlow and much further afield, who have been there for me in so many ways," she said.
Coroner John O'Dwyer praised Kathleen's ability to carry on following her tragic loss.
"An awful tragedy befell you and it's impossible to try and comprehend the loss and grief you must carry. You have the sympathy of the nation for what has happened to you," he said.
He told the inquest that Kathleen had opted to keep her married name "in deference and respect to her boys. No greater love can a mother give than to do that," he added.
During the hearing, Kathleen had questions for several of the witnesses as to how her sons had been found. Witnesses, visibly affected by the tragedy, tried their best to alleviate her fears.
Sean Foy, one of the first men to discover the horrendous deaths told Kathleen her sons were lying side by side. "They seemed to be at peace," he added.
Garda Brian Kilkelly of Westport Garda Station, told the inquest the two boys had been facing each other. "I discovered two young boys lying on their sides fully clothed and each boy was facing each other in the boot of the motor car," he said.
Following questions from their mother's solicitor on whether the boys eyes were open or closed he replied: "It's a mental note in my mind but I believe their eyes were closed."
Witness after witness told of the devastating discovery of the young brothers, of their father's attempt to strangle himself in the crashed car and his brief comments about the murders.
"It happened 10kms outside Castlebar near 'Abbey', you can see what I did, with the ropes," he told Gda Kilkelly at the scene. Asked why he had done it he simply replied 'money' before adding: "I've ruined everything."