Deaths of married couple in Clare being treated as murder-suicide

The bodies of Claire Collins (51) and her husband Joe (54) were discovered at the house in Kilnaboy, near Corofin, on Thursday afternoon.

Preliminary examinations led gardaí to believe that their deaths were suspicious and that there was no-third party involvement, although investigators were awaiting the results of post-mortem examinations to determine the course of the inquiry.

These tests were completed by the Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster, on Friday evening and gardaí say they are not releasing the results for operational reasons.

However, the Irish Independent understands that gardaí are now treating the incident as a murder-suicide, and believe Ms Collins was killed by her husband before he took his own life.

Their families have been informed of the developments and a liaison officer has been appointed to assist them.

As there will be no prosecution in the matter given the nature of the incident, gardaí are now preparing a file for the local Coroner.

In a statement a garda spokesman said: “The scene remains preserved and technical examinations are ongoing.

“The primary focus for Gardaí at this time is the preparation of a file for the Coroner.

“Gardaí are not looking for any other individual in relation to this incident at this time,” the garda spokesman added.

It’s understood the couple had two adult children, who were not in the property at the time of the incident, and that they had recently become grandparents.

Emergency services were alerted to the bungalow by a family friend who made the discovery at around 2.30pm on Thursday afternoon.

The body of Ms Collins was discovered inside the bungalow while the remains of her husband were found outside of the property.

Members of the Garda Technical Bureau based in Dublin also travelled to the property this week to carry out a detailed examination of the scene.

Locals have expressed shock at the tragedy with the couple being described as “well-respected” and “well-liked”.

Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway said it was a tragedy for both the local community and across north Clare.

Speaking earlier on Friday he said news of the deaths came as a tremendous shock while passing on his sympathies to their family and friends.

“I would also call on people to give them space at this time to grieve,” Mr Conway added.

A senior investigating officer has also been tasked with overseeing the inquiry while an incident room has been set up at Ennis garda station.

Gardaí are continuing to appeal for anyone who may have information to contact them.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ennis Garda Station on 065 684 8100 the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station. – RSS Feed