Don't Be Ashamed of Mental Illness, Says Widow Hit by Murder-Suicide

Daily Mail (London), September 3, 2013 | Go to article overview

Don't Be Ashamed of Mental Illness, Says Widow Hit by Murder-Suicide


Byline: Ali Bracken Crime Correspondent

A WIDOW whose husband killed himself and the couple's two young children has said Irish society must 'wake up' to the mental health problems that lead to murder-suicides.

Una Butler said that while she could never forgive her husband John for murdering six-year-old Ella and two-year-old Zoe, and then himself, she feels 'sad' that his depression drove him to commit such an awful act.

Mr Butler, who was being treated for his depression, killed his two daughters on November 16, 2010 and then deliberately crashed his car into a ditch, killing himself.

Mrs Butler was yesterday interviewed by Miriam O'Callaghan on RTE Radio. The bereaved mother and wife spoke about how filicide was a major problem and that, since the year 2000, 38 children in Ireland have been murdered by one of their parents in 27 cases.

She has called for immediate Government action, including stronger laws, to tackle mental health problems that lead to filicide in Ireland. She said: 'There should be more independent in-depth investigations in order to learn from research to help prevent further cases of filicide. John murdered them because he was sick.

'That is what I am putting it down to. The reason my girls are dead is because of John's mental illness.' She recently attended a major conference on filicide in Italy where researchers indicated that, in many cases, mental health problems were a key factor.

She spoke yesterday about how she did not suspect her children were at risk from her husband. …

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