Couple (70s) found in Co Tipperary house may have been dead for months

Gardaí visited property in Cloneen near Clonmel after neighbour reported that pair had not been seen for some time

16/08/2012...STOCK...WEEKEND...ARCHIVE...
Garda confidential line advertised on squad car.
Photograph: Frank Miller  /	THE IRISH TIMES
16/08/2012...STOCK...WEEKEND...ARCHIVE...
Photograph: Frank Miller  /	THE IRISH TIMES

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Gardaí believe that a couple who were found dead in their isolated home in south Co Tipperary on Monday could have died months or even a year or more ago.

The bodies of the man and woman, aged in their late 70s or early 80s, were discovered at about 4pm in the property at Cloneen, some 20km from Clonmel.

Gardaí visited the house after being contacted by a neighbour who noticed that the grass outside the English couple’s home had not been cut for some time. The local person said they were concerned for the pair, who some locals had understood to be away on holidays.

It is understood that one body was found in a bedroom and the other in the living room. The scene was preserved by gardaí from Clonmel to allow for a forensic examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau. The bodies were removed on Monday evening to University Hospital Waterford where Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan was due to carry out postmortems on Tuesday.

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Early examinations found no evidence of forced entry at the house but gardaí would not be drawn as to whether there was any indication of foul play being involved. “It’s far too early to say at this stage,” a source said. “We will be very much guided by the results of the postmortem but it’s simply far too early to speculate on how they died.”

It is understood that the couple were in receipt of pensions, but these continued to be paid into a bank account and utility bills continued to be paid from the same account by standing order.

Gardaí were on Monday carrying out door to door inquiries in the general area to try and establish when anyone may have last seen the couple alive, but it is understood that they were very private and did not mix locally.

“We’ll be talking to everyone in the general area as well as anyone who might have had occasion to call like postmen, but they apparently kept very much to themselves and didn’t mix,” a source said.

Anyone who can assist the investigation is asked to contact Clonmel Garda station on (052) 6177640 or any garda station.

Fine Gael councillor Mark Fitzgerald, a publican in Cloneen, said the news of the deaths made it a “very sad day” for the area, which he said was a “small close knit” community.

“Everyone is a bit shell shocked,” he said. “When you see your area mentioned on the news you never think it is going to be for something like this.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times