GARDAI believe two bodies discovered at a rural farmhouse in County Limerick this morning were those of an alleged fraudster and her partner, who had been living at the house.
The grim discovery was made at around 3am at the house, which is located in the townland of Boolaglass - almost halfway between Askeaton and Rathkeale.
The bodies, which were found in an upstairs bedroom after gardai were alerted to a disturbance at the house, are believed to be those of Julia Holmes (63) and her partner, Thomas Ruttle, who was aged in his 50s.
Gardai have confirmed the last time the couple were seen together was around two months ago - in the middle of March.
It is understood the bodies were badly decomposed and that one line of inquiry being followed is that of murder-suicide.
A garda source said a firearm - possibly a shotgun - was found in the house but it has not been confirmed how the couple died.
Located on the side of R518, there was no sign this morning of anything untoward happening inside other than the garda crime-scene tape and media presence on the road outside.
The traditional two-story farmhouse appears to have been recently renovated and re-foofed and a corrugated garage in the side yard is relatively new.
A 03-L registered Peugeot van remains parked just inside the gravel-covered yard, which is littered with bits and pieces of scrap to the rear of the house.
Net curtins remain drawn across all of the windows - many of which are filled with ornaments and lamps while a yellow and black sign warning of “24 hour CCTV” is visible in an upstairs window.
The house is owned by Thomas Ruttle, who along with Ms Holmes had not been seen for several weeks following media reports about the latter’s activities. Ms Holmes was wanted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the FBI.
The Leader reported last month that Julia Holmes was wanted for fraud.
The 63-year-old, who had more than 20 convictions for fraud, was also deported from the United States in 2006 over a $500,000 property scam in Texas.
At various points, Julia Holmes also went by the names Julianne Ruttle, Croen Ruttle, Julia Watson and other aliases. One Limerick businessman who was a victim of her fraudulent activity, arising from work he did last year for her company Irish Bee Sensations, told the Leader last month: “Last time I met her was in Kinsale, where she was wearing a wig and said she was dying of cancer! I was totally fooled.”
Irish Bee Sensation subsequently won an award at last year’s Blas na hEireann food awards.
Another woman, who lives near Askeaton, said her husband was owed €15,000 for renovation works he did on the house where the two bodies were found this morning.
The farmhouse at Boolaglass remains sealed off this afternoon with members of the Garda Technical Bureau expected shortly to carry out a full forensic examination.
State Pathologist, Prof Marie Cassidy, is due at the scene later and will conduct post-mortems at University Hospital Limerick this evening.
Gardai at Newcastle West have launched a full investigation and are appealing for anybody with information to come forward.