EXPERTS on a TV3 documentary have claimed that a crazed father had such control over his Donegal wife, he was able to persuade her to take part in a murder-suicide pact which ended the lives of their two children.
The programme – broadcast tonight – concluded that they “would probably never know” how the deaths took place; but that the mum may have struggled at the last minute to get out of the incident.
Adrian Dunne (29) was found hanged and his wife Ciara (24) strangled, after their two daughters, Lean (5) and Shania (3) were suffocated in their home in Monageer, Co Wexford, on April 23, 2007.
The TV investigation found several factors contributed to Adrian and Ciara Dunne’s decision to end their lives and those of their children.
It said the Dunnes may have been devastated by fear and despair at mounting debts and isolation from loved ones.
Adrian Dunne had first approached a funeral planner over two weeks before the family were found dead – and visited the planner with his wife.
The TV3 team – including a retired Garda – said the couple were in debt to the region of €34,400 to banks and credit unions in Letterkenny, Buncrana and New Ross, as well as to businesses, utilities and individuals.
Mike Berry, forensic expert, said he believed that a black eye suffered by Ciara was evidence to him that she may have changed her mind at the last minute and that husband Adrian, who was registered blind, had struck out and killed her.
The experts believe a struggle ensued after Ciara tried to prevent the killings from going ahead.
Mary Aiken, research psychiatrist, said she believed “a mother’s instinct” had over-riden any loyalty to Dunne and she tried to stop it.
“It would appear he was the planner,” said Aiken. “She was a strong defender of him. She was adamant the plan was going ahead…Adrian may have convinced Ciara that she was going to die in a car crash.
“It could be that was the case.”
The team concluded that while they both planned the deaths, that Adrian was the driving force behind the planning and execution of the deaths of both Ciara and their two children.
Gardai, health workers and local priests were alerted when Mr Dunne was driven by his wife to a funeral directors 20 miles away in New Ross to make funeral arrangements for the couple and their two young children.
That part of Dunne’s evil plan never came off.
Ciara’s family brought her and her two children home to Burt for burial.
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