This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019

Charleville tragedy mother: "At the end of the day, he didn't know what he was doing"

The boys’ mother Helen O’Driscoll has said the family is devastated – and called on anyone with mental health problems to seek help.

Thomas and Paddy O'Driscoll
Thomas and Paddy O'Driscoll

Updated at 11.20pm

HELEN O’DRISCOLL – THE mother of the three brothers who died in last September’s Charleville tragedy – has issued a heartfelt plea for anyone with mental health difficulties to seek help.

Twin nine-year-old boys Paddy and Thomas O’Driscoll sustained more than 40 stab wounds each, inflicted by their 21-year-old brother Jonathan who took his life less than an hour later.

At an inquest yesterday, a jury returned open verdicts in relation to the two young boys.

It found Jonathan had taken his own life.


In the days before the attack, Jonathan conducted a number of online searches that gave gardaí an indication of his ‘state of mind,’ a senior detective told the inquest.

The jury also heard how doctors became concerned for Jonathan’s mental health, and that he was prescribed anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication.

However, a postmortem revealed no evidence of medication in his system.

“Like many young men he stopped taking the medication and became unwell again prior to his death,” consultant psychologist Dr Robert Burns said.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1 this morning, the boys’ mother paid tribute to Jonathan, saying that despite what people may have said about him following the tragedy:

“I was his mother. I rared him for 21 -and-a-half years of his life, God bless him.

“He was such a lovable boy – never got into trouble.”

She urged mothers and fathers to listen to their children if they spoke about mental health difficulties, and said parents should seek medical help if they were approached about a particular problem.

‘Proud mother’

Jonathan was fostered by Thomas and Helen O’Driscoll, and later adopted by the couple.

In this morning’s interview with host Keelin Shanley, Helen recalled the day in 1993 when she learned she was to have a new addition to her family

I got the phonecall the day he was born to say that I was the proud mother of a lovely baby boy.

She had been waiting for years to have children at that stage, she said.


Jonathan’s mental health declined after a car accident in 2012. His search for his his birth family also added to the stress he was under, his mother said this morning.

The open verdicts recorded in the deaths of Paddy and Thomas “meant an awful lot” to her, she said. 

“At end of day, he didn’t know what he was doing.”

Read: Paddy O’Driscoll’s defensive wounds show he fought for his life, inquest hears

Read: Gardaí confirm no other person being sought over deaths of three brothers

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:

Read next: