Cork shootings: Gardaí believe older son was shot multiple times

Investigating officers find solicitors’ correspondence at farmhouse after triple killing

Gardaí at the scene in Assolas, Kanturk, northeast Co Cork, where the bodies of Tadgh O’Sullivan and his two sons Diarmuid and Mark were found on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardaí investigating a suspected murder-suicide which claimed the lives of three members of the same family are satisfied following postmortem examinations that one of the three men was shot a number of times.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster completed a postmortem on Wednesday afternoon on the remains of Mark O'Sullivan (26), who was shot as he lay in bed at the family home at Assolas, Kanturk, near Castlemagner, at about 6.40am on Monday.

Gardaí are not releasing the results of Dr Bolster’s postmortem for operational reasons, but it is understood they are satisfied Mark suffered a number of gunshot wounds when he was shot at by one or possibly two attackers from the doorway into his bedroom.

His father, Tadhg O’Sullivan (59), and his brother, Diarmuid (23), were found dead with single gunshot wounds to the head some four fields away from the isolated farmhouse more than five hours later by gardaí, in what investigating officers believe was a suicide pact between the two men.


However, Garda sources say that they will not be able to say definitively until they receive a report from Garda technical experts on two .22 rifles, found beside Tadhg and Diarmuid O’Sullivan in the field, whether one or both men were involved in the killing of Mark O’Sullivan.

They hope that technical experts will be able to identify who used which rifle from the fingerprints and DNA evidence found on the guns, and that ballistics experts will be able to say which bullets recovered from Mark O’Sullivan’s body came from which gun or guns.

According to Garda sources, it may be a number of weeks before these forensic and ballistics reports are available to indicate who exactly was responsible for the killing of Mark O’Sullivan in his bedroom in the traditional cottage farmhouse some 7km from Kanturk.

Gardaí have spoken informally to Tadhg O’Sullivan’s wife Ann O’Sullivan, but they are waiting until she feels ready to make a formal and detailed statement about the incident that claimed the lives of her husband and two sons.

Solicitors’ letters

Gardaí are continuing to examine the O’Sullivans’ farmhouse and it is understood they found correspondence from solicitors in the house which confirms reports that Ms O’Sullivan’s intention to make a will leaving at least some of the farm to Mark angered her husband and younger son Diarmuid.

According to informed sources, solicitors’ letters were exchanged as far back as last February and it is believed the relationship between Ms O’Sullivan and her older son Mark, and her husband and Diarmuid had deteriorated since then.

Ms O’Sullivan only returned to the family home on Sunday evening with Mark after staying with relatives locally in Castlemagner for a fortnight following her discharge from hospital in Dublin after surgery for a serious medical condition.

The remains of all three O’Sullivan men were released by gardaí following the completion of postmortems, and funeral arrangements are currently being finalised, with burials expected later this week.

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Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times