Verdicts of murder were returned this afternoon at inquests into the deaths of two elderly Mayo brothers, who were bludgeoned to death at their home in Castlebar almost seven years ago.

After delivering his verdicts, the Coroner for Mayo Patrick O’Connor said words fail to express the horror of the “awful tragedy” which befell Thomas (69) Blaine and his brother Jack on July 10, 2013.

The two brothers, who lived under the care of the HSE at New Antrim Street, Castlebar, were brutally murdered by Alan Cawley of Four Winds, Corrimbla, Ballina.

Mr Cawley was unanimously found guilty of murder by a jury at the Central Criminal Court and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Paul Coffey on July 25, 2017.

He unsuccessfully sought to appeal his conviction.

Evidence was given to the Central Criminal Court that Cawley was released from Castlerea prison four days before the killings and was provided with B&B accommodation in Castlebar. 

He bought a bottle of wine around 5pm on 9 July and was seen drinking three pints of Guinness in pubs later that evening

The court heard that Cawley inflicted horrific injuries on his victims bludgeoning them with a shovel and one of their walking sticks.

Pathologist Dr. Fadel Bennani gave evidence at today’s inquest that the cause of Thomas Blaine’s death was blood loss, brain trauma, chest trauma and inhalation of blood due to blunt injuries to his head, face and chest.

 He gave the cause of his brother, Jack Blaine’s, death was blunt force trauma to the head, blood loss, brain injury and obstruction of breathing due to facial injuries.

 The inquest into the death of the Blaine brothers was opened and adjourned in June 2015.

 When the inquest came up for finalisation this afternoon, the coroner described the Blaines as “very special people” loved by all who knew them, who needed protection.

He said “the tragedy of both deaths is something the Castlebar community will always have on their minds” and he expressed his deepest sympathy with the relatives of the Blaine brothers, their neighbours and friends.