Ciara, 26, from Burt, and her two daughters Lean and Shania, were all killed by Adrian Dunne at their home in Mongeer, Wexford in April 2007.
Now it has been revealed how Marion O’Brien first learned of the tragedies of her loving daughter and her two grandchildren on RTE’s teletext service.
When she keyed in 104 on her remote control, the story broke that the family had been wiped out and that Gardai were not looking for anybody in connection with the deaths.
Marian prayed “Please, God, don’t let it be them.”
She quickly phoned Ciara’s mobile but there was simply no ringtone. She tried again as she desparately wanted to hear her daughter’s voice. But it never came.
The following days, weeks, months and years have been a living nightmare for Marian and her husband PJ and the entire O’Brien family.
Now in a new book entitled ‘Flesh and Blood’ to go on sale this week, the heartbreak of the Donegal family and the real story behind killer Adrian Dunne is to be told.
The book, by Sunday World Investigations Editor Nicola Tallant, examines the familicides and murder-suicides that haunt Ireland today.
The case of the Dunne family is one of the tragic episodes examined in detail.
It tells the story of how the O’Brien family always had reservations about their daughter’s relationship with Adrian O’Brien and how the murderer finally managed to break all ties with them and eventually control Ciara.
Marian had described her second eldest child as ‘vulnerable’ as she had some learning difficulties since she was born.
But as they became more and more distant, nothing would prepare the O’Brien family for what was to come.
The earliest indications were when Adrian Dunne called an undertaker and asked if children could be buried with their parents if they died.
Three weeks alter that enquiry became even more concrete when the family called to a local undertakers and gave instructions on what was to happen if the family died.
He arranged to call back a couple of days later to make more arrangements but by that stage the undertaker’s secretary had become alarmed.
A local priest contacted the Gardai who rushed to the scene of the Dunne family home but by that stage it was too late.
They found Adrian Dunne hanging from an attic hatch while Ciara was lying in the living room floor also with a ligature around her neck.
The couple’s beautiful children were seated on the sofa – toe to toe – with their Dora The Explorer Dolls tucked under their arms. They looked as if they were simply asleep but, they too were dead.
The full heartbreaking story of the Mongeer Tragedy can be read in Flesh and Blood which goes on sale across Ireland this week.