Thomas Ruttle’s sons in tears as they hear details of death

Con woman Julia Holmes had 40 aliases and was focus of international police inquiries

Pauline and Ted Knight, whose daughter Lian was previously in a relationship with Thomas Ruttle, say they hope their grandsons will be able to rebuild their lives. Photogrpah:  Brian Gavin/Press 22

Pauline and Ted Knight, whose daughter Lian was previously in a relationship with Thomas Ruttle, say they hope their grandsons will be able to rebuild their lives. Photogrpah: Brian Gavin/Press 22

 

Two teenage brothers sat side by side sobbing occasionally as details of the gruesome circumstances surrounding their father’s death were read out at a coroner’s court.

For Ian Knight (18) and his brother Kelvin (15), the inquest into the death of their father Thomas Ruttle (56) was, it is hoped, some form of closure following a horrific 12 months.

The tragic death of their father was compounded all the more by the fact he died alongside a con woman who was at the centre of international police inquiries.

Nobody can explain how and why Thomas Ruttle, a bee keeper and a gifted craftsman from rural Co Limerick, ended up with Julia Holmes (63) from Northern Ireland.

Ms Holmes had 40 known aliases and had spent time in prison in Texas for fraud. She was the subject of various investigations involving the FBI, the PSNI and the Garda.

The Ruttle family maintained a dignified and united front as they listened to the harrowing details of how their father, brother and former partner deliberately staged his own death.

No relatives of Ms Holmes, who abandoned her only son when he was young, were at the inquest.

‘Extreme sadness’

Addressing the media, Ms Simon asked that the inquest be the final chapter of delving into the lives of the couple “if not for their sakes” but for the sake of those left behind.

“Both the late Mr Ruttle and Julia Homes were once a son and once a daughter; a sister and brother but most of all a parent of whom the loss has undoubtedly caused extreme sadness and distress given the circumstance in which both of them were found.”

The only question asked was who had died first, one that State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy could not answer definitively, but she did suggest it may have been Mr Ruttle.

Speaking outside afterwards, the grandparents of Mr Ruttle’s teenage sons said they hoped the inquest might bring some sort of closure to what has been a horrific period.

‘Absolute gentleman’

Pauline Knight

The Knights, who ran a marina in Dromineer, Co Tipperary, described Thomas Ruttle, who previously worked for them, as a “quiet man”. “He was a carpenter and he was a mechanic and he had wonderful hands. He was a very quiet unassuming man – an absolute gentleman,” they said.

The Knights said they never met Ms Holmes and it is understood Mr Ruttle had become estranged from his family when he began his relationship with her.

Leaving the court, the grandparents said their focus now was on their grandsons and helping them close what had been a very difficult chapter in their young lives.