Tipperary couple’s death: location of bodies may prove crucial in Clonine tragedy

The elder, who was found dead at his Tipperary home earlier this week, died of natural causes – but the cause of his wife’s death is unclear.

ndpendent.ie understands that post-mortem results have now ruled out the possibility of murder-suicide.

Officials are now satisfied that Nicholas Smith, 81, died of natural causes.

However, medical efforts to clarify the circumstances of his wife’s death have so far provided inconclusive results.
The bodies of Mr Smith and Hillary (79) are believed to have been lying in their Tipperary home for 18 months.

The case puzzled locals in the rural area of ​​Clonion, between Fethard and Mulinahon, as they believed the couple had moved abroad during the COVID pandemic.

As they try to solve the mystery, Gardai has also been in contact with the police in the UK to try to locate any relatives of Smith. They have not been able to trace any relatives till date.

The Irish Independent reported today that a central element of the Garda investigation is why bodies were found in different rooms of the bungalow.

Detectives insisted they were keeping an open mind about the double tragedy, with the nature of their investigation to be determined by the pathologist’s findings.

The postmortem was performed on Tuesday by State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan at University Hospital Waterford.

This evening’s success with regard to the cause of Mr Smith’s death means that Gardai could close several possible theories.

However, they must continue to try to establish how Mrs. Smith died.

The property was completely safe when Gardai was called on Monday at 4 p.m. amid welfare concerns for the couple.

Locals were told before the pandemic that the couple would relocate to France.
However, a man who lived nearby became more concerned about the chaotic nature of the home – and the fact that the couple’s car was parked behind the bungalow and had not been moved for more than 12 months.

He was unconvinced by the story that the couple had left Ireland and were selling the property to some friends in Britain.

There was no sign of forced entry when Gardai arrived and there was no sign of any disturbance inside the bungalow. A careful search of the property did not reveal any weapons or anything that would indicate dishonesty.

Mr. Smith’s body was found in the bedroom of the bungalow. However, his wife’s remains were found just above the hallway in the living room. The included rooms were blinded.

Detectives are investigating several theories, including whether the COVID-19 virus was somehow involved in the circumstances of the deaths or whether another medical cause may have been responsible.

A source said special attention was being paid to several prescription drugs found at the property. Both the deceased were battling various health issues ranging from arthritis to an auto-immune disorder.

Such is the painstaking nature of the Garda investigation that chimneys and boilers at the property are also being checked to eliminate carbon-monoxide poisoning as a possible cause.

Mr and Miss Smith was originally from the UK, but spent many years overseas in France, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Smith is believed to have worked in the cruise-line industry. The couple had no children.

He is understood to have lived in Southampton and London for some time but was based in Tipperary for the past eight years.

Garda technical experts are now examining all banking, phone and computer records to determine the final deadline for the activity by Smith.

Neighbors last saw the couple in late 2020. Publican and local Fine Gael County councilor Mark Fitzgerald said the couple were very polite, but they were also reserved and wanted to respect their privacy.

Another local said he kept to himself, doing his shopping in Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suire and attending cultural events in nearby Cairo.