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UPDATE: Murdered couple -Son to appear in court

couple cuddihy (1)

BY C.J.MCGINLEY

GARDAI are later tonight (Friday)to bring the 42 year-old man charged with the murder of his parents in Carndonagh before a local court.

The couple’s son, Julian, is due before Ballyshannon District Court at 9.30pm. He was charged this evening with two counts of murder on or about Wednesday.

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The bodies of James (77) and Kathleen Cuddihy (73) in their early 70’s, a retired teacher and nurse-paramedic, remain in Letterkenny General Hospital where post mortem examinations have taken place.

The couple were highly respected in the locality and news of the grim discovery of their bodies at their bungalow at Churchtown on the ‘Mountain
Road’ on the outskirts of Carndonagh has sent shockwaves all over the country.

The have been described as ‘wonderful parents’ and great community people. They have four grown up children, sons James and Julian and daughters, Maureen and Delilah.

The latter is a Deputy Principal at the local St Patrick’s Girls National School.

The man in custody had seen a doctor. He was being held under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Senior garda officers had been awaiting the results of the post mortems by State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy and also the findings of forensic expert before they could confirm the cause and time of death.

However, it is believed the were dead for several hours before they were found.

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Garda sources believe the retired couple were attacked by one man armed with a hatchet and said the injuries to both victims were very extensive.

The motive for the attack is not clear but there was no sign of forced entry at the house and burglary has been ruled out.

A hatchet recovered by gardaí is believed to be the murder weapon. The couple met a violent death.

This morning (Friday) gardai issued an appeal for information about the movement’s of the family car, a Silver Skoda Octavia, between 4pm on Wednesday and 9.30am yesterday (Thursday) morning.

The suspect was detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act at Meendoran near Clonmany, an area of Donegal within a few minutes’ drive of the crime scene. The car was also found at Meendoran,

The discovery of the bodies was made at about 9am yesterday by the murdered couple’s son James and a local builder, Paddy Nelson, who had been carrying out work at the property. Mr Nelson was captain of the local GAA team last year.

James Cuddihy has an engineering works at the rear of the family home. His suspicions were arose when he didn’t see any sign of his parents on arrival yesterday morning.

Along with the builder they made a forced entry to the house where they found the bodies. The couple’s daughter Delilah arrived at the scene shortly after.

Mr Cuddihy was a native of Co Kilkenny but came to Carndonagh to teach, where he also married and the couple reared their family. He is a former captain and President of Ballyliffin Golf Club.

He taught maths and metalwork at Carndonagh Community School and formerly the old ‘tech’ in the town where he came in the 60’s and later met his wife.

Julia, was also well known in the locality as a local nurse. She worked voluntary for the local hospital and ambulance service and raised money for various charities such as the ‘Good n New’ cancer service.

State Pathlogist Dr Marie Cassidy arrived at the house in the on Thursday night and after preliminary investigations the bodies were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital.

In a statement released yesterday morning gardai confirmed a man in his 40s was arrested and he was being detained at Buncrana Garda Station under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act- 1984.

The late Mrs Cuddihy’s father was a former county councillor from Malin- Mickey Deery. A sister Carmel from Letterkenny is married to well known retired Garda Barney O’Reilly.

The tragedy has stunned locals and the wider community. The house has been cordoned off and gardai will not be drawn on the cause of death until the results of the forensic and post mortem examinations are confirmed.

Mr Albert Doherty, a local county councillor, is a next door neighbour of the couple. He was shocked to learn of the incident.

“This puts the world into perspective,” he said.

“I’ve lived next door to the couple for years. I’m shocked what has happened. They were lovely people, well respected and admired in our community,” he said.

Mr Doherty, Principal of St Patrick’s Boys School in Carndonagh, was at a meeting in Letterkenny early yesterday morning when he got the word.

“It is just so hard to believe,” he said.

“There is disbelief, tears and shock in the community,”

“They were great community people. If they were not at home they’d be in the garden or doing support work for local charities. Kathleen, a retired nurse and paramedic was a trojan worker for the local hospital and health support groups in the area,” he said.

It is the second tragedy to hit the Churchtown area this year. On January 1, Mrs Maura Porter, was returning home from mass when she was fatally injured after being struck by a car.

She was a neighbour and friend of the Cuddihy’s.

The man being questioned about the murders of a couple in their 70s in their Donegal home had been medically assessed recently after concerns were expressed about his mental health.

The couple had four grown-up children, two sons and two daughters – James, Julian, Delia and Maureen.

Gardaí had been trying to establish if Julian’s state of mind had deteriorated and influenced his alleged actions.

He was taken to nearby Buncrana Garda station for questioning.

His detention was suspended for eight hours late last night to allow him sleep in a cell at the station, meaning he was due to be released or charged by about 6pm.

The Garda team running the investigation was liaising with the office of the Director of Public Prosecution in an effort to determine if the evidence gathere was sufficient to bring criminal charges.

Garda sources said the man was the only suspect in the case.

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