Family of man who killed his brother (9) settles case against HSE

Shane Skeffington Jnr (19) killed younger brother Brandon (9)

The family of a young man who fatally stabbed his nine-year-old brother before taking his own life settled a High Court action against the HSE on Tuesday.

Shane and Carmel Skeffington who have three remaining children and live at Banada, Tourlesrane, Co Sligo had sued the HSE. The settlement is without admission of liability and the terms are confidential.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told by Eoin McCullough SC that it was a very tragic case where on July 20th, 2014 Shane Jnr assaulted his brother and then killed himself. Shane Jnr had previously been a patient at a mental health facility in Sligo.

Counsel told the court it was their case had there been better treatment available, there may not have been that outcome. The claims were denied.


Shane Skeffington and his wife Carmel returned from a Sunday afternoon grocery shopping trip to town to their Sligo home five years ago to discover their eldest son Shane Jnr (19) who was on baby-sitting duty had stabbed his younger brother Brandon (9) with a knife, leaving him fatally wounded. The young man then took his own life.

When the Skeffingtons left the house at 4pm, Shane Jnr was playing with his brother in their shared bedroom. When they returned three hours later, they found Brandon lying on his back at the top of the stairs. His father performed resuscitation with advice from the ambulance and continued it for 45 minutes.

Mr Skeffington found his son Shane Jnr in the shed adjacent to the family home. He was on the ground and had taken his own life. On arrival at hospital, both were pronounced dead.

Outside the Four Courts today on Tuesday, Ciarán Tansey solicitor for the Skeffingtons said it was a tragic case, and the family hope now to draw the matter to a close.

‘This was a particularly traumatic experience for Carmel and Shane Skeffington. Matters that arose on the evening of July 20th, 2014, will never be forgotten. As far as Carmel and Shane are concerned, they love their children enormously. They are their beloved Shane Michael and their beloved Brandon. And they will forever remain so, “ he said.

He added: ‘Unfortunately the trauma will live with the family for the rest of their lives. What I would say, however, is that the pleasant memories of their beloved Shane Michael and Brandon will never be forgotten.’

The Skeffingtons had sued the HSE for alleged negligence and breach of duty. It was claimed there was an alleged failure to take care of Shane Jnr when he was in Saint Columba’s Hospital , Sligo in May 2014 and that he had been allegedly discharged on leave with absence on May 20th, 2014 considering him to be of ‘ no immediate risk of harm to self or others,’ when clinical notes allegedly recorded him as being aggressive towards a member of nursing staff that same day.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to complete a formal risk assessment prior to granting leave and discharge from Saint Columba’s Hospital and an alleged failure to provide any adequate follow up for Shane Jnr.

It was further claimed Shane Jnr had been discharged from the mental health system on May 28th/29th when allegedly there had been no examination by a psychiatrist or a medical practitioner since his discharge on leave of absence .

Mrs Skeffington it was claimed is constantly under a dark shadow and is deeply traumatised by the events. Her husband also continues to suffer from anxiety and grief and suffers from continuously disturbed sleep patterns, it was further claimed.

All the claims were denied.

Approving the settlements, Mr Justice Cross sympathised with the Skeffington Family and said it was a sad and tragic case.