Elderly brothers so trusting they rarely locked their door

Jack and Tom Blaine described as “harmless, innocent but a little bit naïve”

The death of the two elderly brothers has shocked the residents of Castlebar

The death of the two elderly brothers has shocked the residents of Castlebar


The two elderly brothers beaten to death at their home in Castlebar, Co Mayo, early yesterday were so trusting they rarely locked their front door even at night.

“Harmless, innocent but a little bit naïve,” was the consensus locally about the Blaine brothers, Jack (70) and Tom (68), who lived in a small two-storey house on Newantrim Street.

Both men were unmarried having originally come from a rural district, Crimlin, a village three miles north of Castlebar.

Jack was involved in construction in England up to the 1970s. His working life came to an end when a concrete stairwell fell on him.

“He was buried for three or four hours,” his first cousin Paul Dunne recalled yesterday. “It’s probably true to say he never was the same since.”

Jack Blaine was small in stature. His hunched figure was familiar at night in the Tucker Street and Linenhall Street areas which are the social hub of Castlebar, especially at weekends.

Most nights, while his younger brother stayed home, Jack would tentatively visit local hostelries such as Rocky’s, Sloyan’s or Bosh Bar mug in hand, hoping for a fill of tea or coffee on the house.

Pub staff always obliged. In fact Jack got what turned out to be his last coffee “top-up” in Rocky’s at around midnight on Tuesday before he went to his home about 50 yards away.

John Ralph, bar manager at Rocky’s, sadly recalled yesterday Jack’s last visit.

“He was in his usual quiet form. There was never anything loud or demanding about Jack. He was always quiet and gentle.”

Kitty Sloyan (92), the oldest resident of Linenhall Street, was adamant: “Jack and Tom were two saints. They never did the slightest harm to anybody.

“When I worked in the bar myself I always gave Jack a glass of Guinness whenever he came in. You wouldn’t see Tom out much, only rarely, in the nighttime.”

Ms Sloyan said what had befallen her neighbours was the worst event she remembered in the town.

“What happened to Jack and Tom is frightening for everybody, both young and old.”

Mr Dunne, cousin of the dead brothers, last saw the pair on Monday evening when he called to their home at around 5pm. They were in “good form” at the time. “I used to keep an eye on them – obviously not a great eye in the light of what has happened.”

Final years
Both Jack and Tom returned home from England in the 1980s to look after their mother Delia in her final years. Delia lived in the modest house where the brothers had been living when their lives were violently ended early on Wednesday morning.

The home-help worker who found the bodies on her morning round at 7am was too shocked yesterday to talk about her experience.