Co Louth man who killed wife and self had mental health issues

James Quigley believed to have been very troubled by drowning of son (10) in 1980s

A man believed to have killed his wife before taking his own life by driving into oncoming traffic on a motorway near his Co Louth home had suffered from mental health issues over a prolonged period.

James Quigley (69), a company director from Co Louth, is believed to have been deeply troubled by the death by drowning of his 10-year-old son Aidan in the 1980s.

Gardaí investigating the death of his wife, Marie (68), at the family home on Monday are trying to establish if a deterioration in his mental state of late was a key factor in his fatal attack on her. Mr Quigley is the only suspect for the killing and gardaí are treating the death of the couple as a murder-suicide.

Mr Quigley died when his car crashed head-on into a truck and car on the M1 northbound carriageway between junction 14 and 15, near Castlebellingham, at about 2.45pm on Monday.


Gardaí went to the Quigley home at Rathmore, Hackballscross, apparently to break the news of his death to his wife.


When they reached the property at about 4pm they found the couple’s son Kieran there having just discovered his mother dead in a bedroom.

Gardaí believe she was beaten to death by her husband and locked into the room before he left and drove into traffic about 10 miles away. Three people in the car he collided with were taken to hospital.

The Quigleys have four adult children: Kieran, Gavin, Mark and Sonya. Mr Quigley is believed to have been living in the UK, only returning to Ireland recently. His extended family operates an oil business in the Louth area.

Joint service

Ms Quigley’s family are also well-known business people and run a customs clearance company. A close friend of the family, speaking outside the Quigleys’ home, said the funerals were being planned as a joint service. He said the local community had been devastated, describing the Quigleys as a lovely couple. “They were well respected in the area.”

The stretch of motorway where Mr Quigley died was sealed off for a crash scene investigation but has reopened.

The dead man's postmortem took place yesterday at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. The results of DNA testing are awaited to confirm his identity. Ms Quigley's body remained at the scene overnight before it was taken away for postmortem. The house remained sealed off last night having undergone an examination by the Garda Technical Bureau.

As Mr Quigley is the only suspect in the death of his wife and he is now deceased, the case will never result in criminal charges. The Garda file being prepared will inform the coroner's inquests. Garda Supt Gerry Curley appealed for anyone with any information in relation to the matter to contact Dundalk gardaí.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times