The jury at the inquest into Kanturk’s victim, Mark O’Sullivan, today returned a verdict of unlawful homicide, in what the coroner described as “a terrible tragedy, almost beyond comprehension. human “.
he six-person jury decided that Tadg O’Sullivan and Diarmuid O’Sullivan had committed suicide.
A recommendation was made that protocols regarding third party contact with Gardai involving the safety of others, particularly in cases of firearm possession, be reviewed.
North Cork Coroner Dr Michael Kennedy said; “I would normally offer my condolences (to the bereaved family). But here the O’Sullivan house is now empty. A terrible sequence of events has led to the devastation of the O’Sullivan family.”
“It’s hard to understand.”
Dr Kennedy expressed his condolences to neighbors, friends and the entire North Cork community and urged any family experiencing difficulty to seek appropriate mediation and support.
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Today’s investigation learned how mother-of-two Anne O’Sullivan saw her husband and youngest son shoot at her eldest son in his bedroom – and the duo, armed with guns, got out of hand. then turned to her and said, “Here is the letter from your lawyer to you.”
The revelation came as a Cork coroner today opened an inquest into the deaths last year of Tadg O’Sullivan (59) and his two sons, Mark (25) and Diarmuid (23) ).
Mark was shot dead by his father, Tadg, and younger brother, Diarmuid, in a tragic confrontation at their home in Kanturk, north Cork, over a disputed € 2million will.
The inquest today learned that Mark had been shot a total of seven times by his father and younger brother while ambushed in his bedroom over a dispute over a land inheritance.
Eight .22 rounds had been fired into the chamber.
The young man died of a head trauma after a bullet penetrated his skull.
He had desperately tried to protect himself – and bullets had even gone through his arms.
His mother, Anne O’Sullivan, got up at 7 a.m. on October 26, 2020, hearing the first shots and went to her eldest son’s bedroom.
She saw her husband and youngest son standing in the doorway, armed with guns.
The two then shot Mark O’Sullivan again in front of his distraught mother.
Tadg and Diarmuid died a few minutes later in a field near a fairy fort a few meters from the farm.
Both had been shot in the mouth with .22 caliber rifles later found by their side.
The investigation learned that such mouth injuries are often indicative of self-inflicted injuries.
Both shots caused fatal traumatic brain injuries.
Gardaí believes that Diarmuid committed suicide first, followed by his father.
The mother, who lost her husband and two sons in the horrific double-suicide murder, died last April after being diagnosed with a serious illness before the tragedy unfolded.
Anne O’Sullivan (61) was already struggling with a long-term health problem when the tragedy occurred at Assolas’s farm near Kanturk last October.
Ms O’Sullivan passed away last April just days after turning 61.
She had been very ill in the weeks before her death and had been treated in a hospice.
North Cork Coroner Dr Michael Kennedy has opened inquiries into the deaths of Tadg, Mark and Diarmuid in Mallow after postponing the hearing last month.
In the early hours of October 26, 2020, Tadg and Diarmuid confronted Mark in his bedroom at the family home outside of Kanturk, north Cork, over a dispute involving a family will.
Ms O’Sullivan had wanted to share the Ossolas farm between her sons – but Diarmuid grew increasingly restless as he demanded the lion’s share of the holding.
Mark died after being shot seven times at close range.
As her mother ran towards the stage, she said, “Oh my God, what have you done?”
As she watched, the duo shot Mark again.
Ms O’Sullivan was not injured by her husband and youngest son although they took her cell phone, forcing her to run to a neighbor’s house to sound the alarm.
A door to the property had been carefully locked with a new padlock.
She told a shocked neighbor after running for nearly a mile that she was not injured by the duo so she could suffer.
A few days earlier, Diarmuid O’Sullivan had warned another neighbor that: “There will never be a light in Raheen again.”
“All of this will be over in a few weeks and there will be a trail of carnage,” he warned.
Diarmuid had repeatedly warned his family that he would kill himself if he didn’t get what he wanted with the inheritance of the land.
His father had supported him and demanded that his wife make a will.
At one point, they warned her that if she didn’t fix the problem, she would follow two coffins to a local cemetery and “cry crocodile tears.”
Ms O’Sullivan, in a statement to Gardaí before his death, said Diarmuid insisted he had “a vision” for the land and believed it was entitled to it.
He described his older brother as lazy and that he did nothing to deserve the inheritance.
The mother-of-two – who was undergoing cancer treatment – said she was upset and scared by an incident in which her husband and youngest son confronted her in her bedroom and asked her to sort it out land.
Ms O’Sullivan said she was shocked by her husband whose face was red and eyes bulging.
However, Anne O’Sullivan, while trying to divide the farm, made a special arrangement for Mark O’Sullivan in light of the fact that Diarmuid would also inherit other land in Cecilstown from his father.
Diarmuid began to read his mother’s personal correspondence and would open her mail.
For a while, he refused to speak to his mother and she did not follow up on his land claim.
The investigation learned that tensions within the family had risen from February 28, 2020 when Anne was told she had terminal cancer.
Mark and Anne O’Sullivan felt so scared and intimidated by the deteriorating atmosphere on the farm they had moved into with a neighbor for nearly two weeks before the tragedy.
Mark had feared for his own safety and that of his mother so much that he slept at the foot of his bed.
Ms O’Sullivan’s cousin, Louise Sherlock, traveled to Gardaí to educate them on the tensions within the O’Sullivan house – but the neighbor was unaware there were guns on the property.
Ms. O’Sullivan did not subsequently go to Gardaí to seek a protection or restraining order. She did not say that she feared there were guns in her house in a safe to which her husband had the key.
Mark left a two-page note, found after the shooting in his mother’s pharmacy bag, which described what they had endured from Tadg and Diarmuid during the land dispute.
“I feel like a caged animal has been constantly pushed by abusive kidnappers,” Mark wrote.
“I fear for my own safety and that of my mother.”
He said he had been verbally assaulted by his father and younger brother – and felt unsafe in his own home.
Mark wrote that he had foolishly accepted a request for a verbal agreement on the land issue with his younger brother – but wrote that he did so in a desperate attempt to calm matters down.
Diarmuid later accused his older brother of being “a snake” and “a rat” after realizing he was not going to do what he wanted with the will.
Mark was found dead in his room by an armed Gardaí who rushed to the scene.
The bodies of his father and younger brother were found near Gardai some 600 meters from the farm off the Castlemagner-Kanturk road.
The two had suffered a single fatal gunshot wound and were found in a field known as “The Fort”, adjacent to an ancient fairy-tale fort.
Two .22 rifles, one bolt-action and one semi-automatic, were found nearby.
A total of three legally owned firearms were recovered by Gardai in both scenes – two rifles and a shotgun.
The triple tragedy was sparked by a bitter dispute over a family will involving the 140-acre property.
Attempts to resolve the dispute failed, and Mark was repeatedly confronted with his father and younger brother amid mounting tensions over the standoff.
Documents regarding the dispute were found near the bodies of Tadg and Diarmuid – and legal letters were found by Gardaí on the property itself.
Handwritten letters addressed to Anne O’Sullivan were found on the bodies of Tadg and Diarmuid.
Ms O’Sullivan had only returned to Assolas farm 36 hours before the tragedy, after going to a medical appointment in Dublin with her eldest son.
When her husband and younger son refused to contact her by phone, she sent them a lawyer letter about the deteriorating situation.
They had written to the lawyer asking Mrs. O’Sullivan to go home.
A key part of Garda’s investigation was whether the mother and her eldest son had been deliberately drawn to the farm.
The mother-of-two – who worked for years as a nurse at Mt Alvernia Hospital outside Mallow – attended both Tadg and Diarmuid’s Requiem Mass and later Requiem Mass of his son, Mark.
She died barely six months later.
Mark, a trainee lawyer, has been hailed as “the greatest son a mother can have.”
His Requiem Mass heard that “the bond between them (Anne and Mark) was unbreakable”.
“Mark had such a big heart and so much love to give… I can’t imagine how much effort and love he put into being Anne’s son,” said his best friend Sharmilla.
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