The daughter of murdered Paddy Hennessy told the inquest into his death that her father’s head injuries were so severe that she recognised him by his shoes and clothes.
Elaine Hennessy described how she and her mother drove to the farm late at night because they were concerned about Paddy and his brothers Willie and Johnny.
They locked themselves in their car when they saw his body, and worried that whoever had killed him was still around.
Elaine looked at her father’s body from a distance of about 10 feet away as he lay on the ground of his farmyard with head injuries so severe that gardaí had to use dental records to confirm his identity.
She was only able to make out his body from the headlights of her car, according to a statement from the mother-of-four that was read out in today’s inquest into the deaths of her father Paddy Hennessy, 60, and his brother Willie.
They were found around 11.30pm at their family farmhouse in Curraghgorm near Mitchelstown, Co Cork, on Thursday, February 25, 2021.
The body of her uncle Johnny Hennessy, 59, who killed his two brothers, was later found in a nearby river.
He had taken his own life.
Mallow District Court, sitting before North Cork Coroner Dr Michael Kennedy, heard Elaine was the first to discover Paddy’s body.
Worried that she had not been able to contact him or either of her uncles on the phone at around 11pm on Thursday, she drove to their farmyard with her mother, Stephanie.
The 34-year-old, in a statement to gardaí the day after her father was murdered, said: “I rang his phone, and Willie’s, but there was no answer.
“We rang Johnny, but [it rang out]; it was turned off about 20 minutes later.
“It was very suspicious. We drove up to the yard. It was dark. We drove into the yard with the [car] lights on.
“[Mum] said: ‘There’s a body’. I saw it too.
I knew it was dad. I recognised the clothes and boots.
“We got to maybe 10 feet away. I could see loads of blood on his head and on the ground.
“He was lying face-up. We just panicked. We ran straight back to the car and got in and locked it.
“We were scared of someone being there.”
She added: “I never called for my dad or anything.
“It looked gruesome. I knew he was dead.
I am just in shock. We never got close to touch Dad.”
After her mother called gardaí and they arrived, both women moved closer to his body, where she saw the damage to his face inflicted by an axe.
She said: “I could see Dad’s face was badly damaged. I think his eyes were even gone.
“But it was definitely Dad.”
The inquest also heard Johnny Hennessy was “breathless” and “stressed” when he called his sister Breda O’Reilly in what may have been