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Four members of Premiership star's family killed in house massacre


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A Premiership footballer had to play a key match moments after discovering his cousin, her husband and their two young children had been found dead after a house fire.


The bodies of Reading star Kevin Doyle's cousin Lorraine Flood, her husband Diarmuid and their children Mark, 6, and Julie, five, were all discovered in the burnt out house in Ireland.


It has since emerged that while the children died in the fire early on Saturday morning, their parents both had gunshot wounds.


Police have refused to name a suspect but are understood to be focusing their investigations on Mr Flood, whose body was found downstairs near to a gun.


It is thought he may have murdered his wife, a former Rose of Tralee beauty queen, and then started the fire before shooting himself.


Doyle, who has also represented Ireland, was told of their deaths shortly before his team was due to play Wigan in a battle to avoid relegation.


His family had wanted to wait until after the match to tell him of the tragedy but manager Steve Coppell decided to break the news before in case he heard some other way.


Despite the horrendous news, he decided to go through with the game which ended in a nil-all draw and managed to stay on the pitch for 69 minutes.


When he finally came off the field, Doyle was embraced by Coppell as well as several of his backroom staff.


The manager said later: "Kevin felt — I think very bravely — that he wanted to play. Playing a game took his mind off it.


"It was his decision, having spoken to his family, that he wanted to play. I don't know what he might have been thinking before the game, but now he can make contact with his family, find out what happened and do his mourning.


"I asked him to speak to his family, I felt it was the right thing to do to break the news, because we had heard something was going to come out before the game."


All four bodies were found in the family home in the village of Clohnroche, County Wexford, after the fire ripped through the house at around 5.30am yesterday morning.


They were so burnt that initial visual visual inspections were inconclusive and post-mortems were being carried out today.


It had been thought all four died because of the fire, but forensic teams found the parents were already dead before it took hold.


Ballistics tests were due to be done on a shotgun found in the house, which is thought to have been licensed to Mr Flood.




Mrs Flood, now 38, took part in the Rose of Tralee beauty contest in 1991

Gardai said there was no sign of a break-in at the home and they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the fire or the deaths.


The family was well-known in the village and Mr Flood had been running his father's firm Sean Flood Water Filtration for the last few years.


They were considered well-off but the business is thought to have slowed in the last year.


Mrs Flood, now 38, took part in the Rose of Tralee beauty pageant in 1991.


Norma Doyle, principal of St Aidan's National School in Clonroche, said today: "We are all devastated.


"We are all struggling to come to terms with this dreadful tragedy - our school has lost two beautiful students.


"They were happy, bubbly children and we will miss them dreadfully."


The blaze was spotted by a neighbour yesterday as dawn broke over the quiet Wexford village.


Three locals tried to get into the house and attempt a rescue but the flames beat them back.


Mrs Flood was found dead in the couple's bedroom, her daughter Julie in her own bedroom while Mark perished on the landing.


It is the second time in just over a year Wexford has been hit by similar devastating tragedy.


In an apparent murder suicide in the nearby village of Monageer last April blind father-of-two Adrian Dunne, his wife Ciara, and their two children were found dead at their home.


Local Irish MP Brendan Howlin said the small community of Clonroche was devastated by the latest deaths.


"As a public representative I am shocked at the terrible tragedy that unfolded in Clonroche" he said yesterday.


"The tight knit community is absolutely devastated today at the loss of this family.


"People in the village are reeling from this dreadful incident and it will take a long time for them to come to terms with it.


"I wish to express my deepest sorrow to members of the local community and to those bereaved."




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