Man held by gardaí over killing of two brothers in Mayo

Robbery not ruled out as motive for attack

 The scene of the double killing of two brothers at New Antrim Street, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Photograph : Keith Heneghan/Phocus.

The scene of the double killing of two brothers at New Antrim Street, Castlebar, Co Mayo. Photograph : Keith Heneghan/Phocus.

Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 08:33


Gardaí were last night questioning a 26-year-old man about the beating to death of two elderly brothers in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

The Irish Times understands the suspect was known to the men and talked his way into their home on New Antrim Street, where an assault ensued early yesterday morning and the two pensioners died as a result.

The motive for the attack is unclear, though robbery has not been ruled out.

The men have been named as Tom and Jack Blaine, aged 68 and 70 respectively. Jack would have celebrated his 70th birthday yesterday. Both had physical disabilities and were mentally impaired, while Jack was deaf and was almost completely non-verbal due to a speech impediment.


Arrested in the town
The man being questioned last night is from Castlebar. Gardaí said he was arrested in the town and was seen in the company of the two brothers just after midnight on Tuesday into the early hours of yesterday morning.

The bodies of both victims were found at their home at about 7am when their home help called to the house as usual. Tom was found dead in a yard at the back of the house while Jack’s remains were discovered on the floor of his downstairs bedroom.

They had suffered trauma injuries to the face and a blunt instrument is believed to have been used by the attacker.

The last sighting of the men was at about midnight on Tuesday when they bought chips from a takeaway across the street from their home.


Non-drinkers
State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy arrived at the scene after 3pm and carried out a preliminary examination of the bodies before their removal for postmortem.

CCTV footage from Garda cameras and those in businesses in the area – which is in the heart of Castlebar – was being examined and is believed to have aided the identification of the suspect being held in Castlebar Garda station last night.

The men were non-drinkers but were regular visitors to the pubs on their street, while staff of nearby Rocky’s Pub often brought tea to the brothers in their house.

The street on which the men lived is in a busy area in the centre of the town, immediately adjacent to Castlebar Shopping Centre.