Cecil Tomkins guilty of murdering brother

Friday 16 March 2012 22.08
Cecil Tomkins suffers from Parkinson's syndrome
Cecil Tomkins suffers from Parkinson's syndrome

A Co Wicklow farmer has been found guilty of the murder of his older brother in a row over where their mother was buried.

63-year-old Cecil Tomkins, who now lives at the New Lodge Nursing Home in Rathfarnham in Dublin, was not present at the Central Criminal Court this evening when the jury delivered its unanimous verdict.

The court heard he had been unable to attend the trial over the past two days because he was unwell.

The bachelor, who suffers from Parkinson's syndrome, told gardaí that he shot his brother Walter, who was also a bachelor, in the hallway of the house they shared because he did not follow his mother's burial wishes.

Prosecuting Counsel Dominic Mc Ginn said he was concerned that Mr Tomkins should be present for sentencing.

Mr Justice Garret Sheehan remanded Mr Tomkins, who earlier during the trial had appeared in court in a wheelchair, on continuing bail for sentencing later this month.

Cecil Tomkins and his elder brother Walter lived all their lives on the family farm at Cronlea, Shillelagh in County Wicklow, the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Their father died in 1999 and was buried locally in Aghowle, 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, County Wexford.

She 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 in June 2010.

The court heard that Walter arranged her funeral and Bella was buried beside her late husband in Aghowle; that Cecil was unhappy and didn't go to the funeral and told the Reverend she should have been buried in Gorey - that was her wish.

Less than a week later, on 1 July 2010, at 7.30pm Walter Tomkins was shot in the chest in the family home.

The court heard that Cecil told gardaí he shot him because her mother was not buried where she wished, then drove the tractor up to the field where his nephew was working and told him he had shot Walter.

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

The court heard that two months after Walter's death an envelope was found under the wardrobe in his room 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."