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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Inquest opens into death of Cork father who killed daughters

The man’s widow and bereaved mother of the two girls has said that spouses and partners should be involved in the treatment of those suffering from mental illness.

Una Butler with her daughter Ella
Una Butler with her daughter Ella

AN INQUEST INTO the death of Cork father John Butler, who died in a car crash after taking the lives of his two young daughters, has opened in Cork today.

Una Butler, John’s widow and bereaved mother of six-year-old Zoe and two-year-old Ella, spoke at the inquest today and said that he husband was being treated for depression. RTÉ reports that she said that the partners and spouses of those suffering with mental illness should be involved in their treatment.

She said that she had no idea that John was “capable of acting out in the manner in which he did”. He had been receiving treatment from November 2009 until August 2010.

Newstalk reports that witnesses told the inquest today that on the morning of 16 November 2010 they had seen John Butler buying petrol for a five gallon drum. One witness said he saw smoke in the car Butler was driving before it crashed into a ditch.

The bodies of the two girls were then discovered in the family home. Ella had been smothered while Zoe had died by strangulation.

Today Una Butler said “John was a good person and he loved Zoe and Ella”. She said that living with someone with mental illness was very difficult and:

Whereas issues such as patient confidentiality are important, I feel spouses and partners should be involved with their treatment and that the first concern should be the welfare of children.

Post-mortem exams on bodies of Cork dad and the daughters he killed>

Bodies of two girls found after father dies in Cork crash>

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Emer McLysaght

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