The eldest son killed in the Kanturk family shooting horror left a note for his mother foreseeing his death at the hands of his brother and father before predicting they would then kill themselves, it has emerged.
Mark O’Sullivan, 25, was repeatedly shot in his bedroom in the €2million family farm property he was due to inherit.
The bodies of his father and brother were found in a nearby field following the incident, with post mortems revealing they died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
It is believed trainee solicitor Mark was shot by his younger brother, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, 23, on Monday in a bitter dispute about ownership of the 140-acre farm.
Eldest son Mark, who is a law graduate from University College Cork, wrote a note for his mother Ann reportedly anticipating his death at the hands of his family members. Mother and son pictured above
The shootings were related to simmering tensions over a will and the inheritance of the 150-acre farm in the remote neighbourhood of Assolas in County Cork, it is believed
Eldest son Mark, who is a law graduate from University College Cork, wrote a note for his mother anticipating his death at the hands of his father and brother, according to a report in The Sun.
Mark went on to predict that Diarmuid and father Tadhg would afterwards kill themselves.
The note, which was left in mother Ann’s medical bag, was an eerie prophesy of what was to come as Mark detailed how he thought his family members would turn on him.
A source told the newspaper: ‘It is possible he might have overheard them talking about what they would do because they were so upset over the farm being left to him.
‘But it is also possible because of his legal training he may have written down the plans with a view to having them on record should there be future legal action over a will and inheritance.’
It emerged yesterday that Diarmuid left a 12-page suicide note for their mother outlining his grievance against Mark, whom he blamed for a row over inheritance.
The note was found on his body at the field where he and Tadhg’s bodies were found.
Assistant State pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster carried out a postmortem on gifted academic Mark yesterday.
Gardaí believe Mark was shot with a rifle which was later recovered close to the bodies of Diarmuid and their father Tadhg at an ancient ringfort known as ‘The Fort’.
Another rifle was found close by. In all, three weapons were recovered from the farm – the two rifles and a shotgun.
Gardaí believe Mark was shot with a rifle which was later recovered close to the bodies of Diarmuid and their father Tadhg at an ancient ringfort known as ‘The Fort’. Tadhg pictured, left, and Diarmuid, right
A source in the ‘numbed’ town of Kanturk, Co. Cork, who knows the family well, revealed to the Irish Daily Mail that the boys’ mother, Anne, was an only child who inherited the farm from her family.
The source said that she had been seriously ill, had made some recovery but had relapsed in recent times.
As a result, she had wanted to settle her affairs and had favoured her older son, Mark, who had helped her through her illness and had taken her to health appointments.
As a trainee solicitor preparing to complete his final FE-1 solicitor exams, Mark, a much-loved figure in the area, had studied probate law and was familiar with the legal requirements for inheriting the family farm.
Their father, Tadhg, however, had strongly backed Diarmuid in the dispute and had been planning for some time to confront Mark.
Mark and Anne were in Dublin for several days for her medical appointment and had only returned the day before the killing.
While they were away, resentment had been building against him for what Diarmuid believed was undue influence on their mother, a claim Mark strongly rejected.
Mark was shot at about 6.30am in his bedroom on Monday. Diarmuid and Tadhg’s bodies were later found by a Garda helicopter about half a kilometre from the home.
The detailed and lengthy suicide note suggests that the killing was premeditated and gardaí are satisified that it was written before Mark was killed.
Both Tadhg and Diarmuid died from single gunshot wounds and their bodies were found in a field close to where Mark was shot. Post mortems revealed that the father and son deliberately turned the gun on themselves after the shooting, according to a report in The Sun.
Notes were found in both the men’s pockets, outlining why the violent events took place and their wishes following their deaths.
Anne O’Sullivan, who is in her 60s, managed to escape the north Cork property and raised the alarm at a neighbour’s house.
She told emergency services that there had been a shooting in the home. As gardaí approached the isolated farmhouse they were informed that further shots had been heard.
They immediately set up a cordon around the property and initiated its critical firearms incident response.
The first responders to the scene did not enter the home as they knew the family had three licensed firearms – two rifles and one double-barrel shotgun.
The bodies of his father and brother were found in a field close to the farmhouse where the family lived in Assolas, Kanturk
Mark, a trainee solicitor, was working for a multinational company in Limerick and was known as a hard-working employee.
He had been allowed to work remotely during the Covid lockdown and had a general medical exemption to travel with his mother to Dublin.
He had been long known for helping people who needed his assistance. One Italian student described him as her ‘angel’, who did everything from carrying her bags to helping her complete her assignments while they were both studying at the University of Limerick.
In fact, he helped foreign students so much that the college president gave him an award for his generous endeavours.
Marina Barone, a law student in the University of Bologna who was on an Erasmus college exchange in UL, wrote on the college website before Mark’s death that he had helped her enormously under the college’s ‘buddy programme’ for foreign students.
‘My Erasmus wouldn’t have been the same if I didn’t have my Buddy, Mark O’Sullivan,’ she wrote.
‘If I ever had problems with my assignments, Mark would offer me advice or show me a useful book to help me. I know I have been very fortunate as Mark has been an angel during my time in Ireland.’
Mark completed a four-year law degree in UL from 2013 to 2017, during which he did a ‘co-op’ internship at a Limerick law firm from June 2015 to January 2016.
He also mentored children for four months and did an online course in understanding dementia.
Later in 2016 he and several other UK students spent several terms in Aristotle University of Thessaloin business law at University College Cork, graduating in 2018.
His graduation ceremony took place in March, in which he posed for photos with his proud parents, Tadhg and Anne. Diarmuid O’Sullivan was less well known in the community than his more outgoing older brother.
A police SUV is seen on the farmland in remote County Cork on Monday
Both attended the Coláiste Treasa school and Diarmuid went to the Cork Institute of Technology where he was known as a hardworking student.
He was due to graduate with a first-class degree in accounting this week. When the alarm was raised on Monday, Garda negotiators went to the house and attempted to make contact with anyone who was still inside the property.
Then, shortly after 12.30pm, members of the Emergency Response Unit entered and found Mark dead in the bedroom with multiple shotgun wounds.
The Garda Air Support Unit helicopter then started an aerial surveillance of the adjoining lands.
The helicopter then hovered over The Fort field and reported to gardaí on the ground that it had found the other two bodies.
A Garda spokesman said on Tuesday that ‘contrary to some reports’, there had been ‘no Garda interaction with the deceased men, or their family, prior to the tragic events of October 26, 2020’.
An appeal has been made for any witnesses to contact gardaí.