Man shot brother over mother's 'burial wish'

Thursday 08 March 2012 22.05
Cecil Tompkins who is suffering from Parkinson's disease has pleaded not guilty to his brother's murder
Cecil Tompkins who is suffering from Parkinson's disease has pleaded not guilty to his brother's murder

A bachelor farmer in his 60s shot and killed his elder brother because their mother was not laid to rest in the place she wanted to be buried, the Central Criminal Court was told today.

Cecil Tompkins, who now lives at New Lodge Nursing Home, Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Walter Tomkins at Cronlea in Co Wicklow in July 2010.

The trial began today before a jury of nine men and three women.

Cecil Tompkins and his brother Walter lived all their lives on the family farm at Cronlea, Shillelagh in Co Wicklow.

Their other brother Charles married and lived locally but Cecil and Walter were bachelors.

Their father died in 1999 and was buried locally in Aghowle in Co Wicklow, but his wife, their mother Isabella, said that when she died she wanted to be buried not with her husband but with her family in Gorey, Co Wexford.

Prosecuting Counsel Dominic McGinn said Isabella, or Bella, as she was known, made the arrangements and left written instructions and cash to pay for her funeral in an envelope in a press in the living room.

Bella lived with her two sons for the next 11 years until she died on 26 June 2010.

The court heard however that Walter arranged her funeral with the local Minister and Bella was buried beside her late husband in Aghowle. Cecil did not go to the funeral.

The court was told the Reverand went to speak to Cecil a few days later and Cecil told him he was unhappy because his mother should have been buried in Gorey as was her wish.

Less than a week later on 1 July 2010, Walter Tompkins was shot in the chest in the home he shared with Cecil.

The court heard Cecil drove the tractor up to the field where his nephew was working and told him he had shot Walter and he was groaning.

By the time the emergency services were called, Walter Tompkins was dead.

A shotgun was recovered and live rounds of ammunition were found in a box and on the floor of Cecil’s room.

Prosecuting counsel told the jury that two months later Charles Tomkins was cleaning out his late brother Walter's room and found an envelope under the wardrobe with his mother’s writing on it.

Inside it said "The money in this envelope is to pay for the grave in Gorey. I am to be buried in Gorey, Bella."

Cecil Tompkins who is suffering from Parkinson's disease has pleaded not guilty to Walter's murder.

The trial is continuing.