In Flesh and Blood, Sunday World Investigations Editor, Nicola Tallant looks at the rising phenomenon of murder-suicide in Ireland, at events which, while shocking in the extreme, happen in tight-knit communities, behind the closed doors of apparently loving homes.
She takes us inside these houses of horror and pieces together what happened in seventeen prominent cases, including the horrific murder of four-year-old Deirdre Crowley, whose abductor father shot her dead so that her mother would never see her again; the case of Caitlin Innes, murdered after her Communion Day; the tragic McElhill children, torched to death by their own father; and the case of mother Sharon Grace who, in a state of extreme desperation, drove off a pier with her children in the car.
It examines what warning signs, if any, were there before loving fathers and mothers turned killer in their own homes, and looks at the roles of the HSE, the Gardai and families and friends in the build up to these tragic events.
Is it too easy to whitewash these crimes as those of the mentally ill? Or can jealousy tip the scales in an otherwise balanced mind? Are there common factors that link these cases? And what steps can be taken to ensure that warning signs are heeded in the future before tragedy strikes again?