Pre-Christmas tragedy has struck a family when a father and his two children died from carbon monoxide poisoning in their rural home.

They were watching television on Sunday night, 50-year-old Trevor Wallwork in his armchair and daughter Kim, 12, and Harry, nine, lying on the sitting room in floor in front of him at Gurteen, Co. Sligo, when tragedy struck.

Trevor’s wife Sue, the children’s stepmother, was already in Sligo General Hospital with a serious illness and is expected to remain there over Christmas.

Her own daughter, Vicki Barnes, 22, who lives in nearby Tubbercurry, discovered the bodies when she visited the house on Sunday night after failing to raise a response by telephone.

The post mortem examinations carried out by deputy state pathologist Dr. Michael Curtis showed the three died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Gardai have said there was no evidence of any other type of poisoning.


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But Gardai are to carry out more tests. They have ordered toxicology examinations of the ventilation system in the room in which the people died.

They said there was a gas container linked to a heater in the hallway. They believe the family was heating the rest of the house with that.

In addition there was a coal fire burning in the sitting room where they were watching television.

The family moved from England to Co. Sligo six years ago. The children’s birth mother was separated from the family.

A local farmer Michael McKeown, spoke of giving the two children a lift on his tractor up a long narrow road -- known in rural Ireland as a boreen -- to their home occasionally on their way back from school.

He said, “They were lovely. One time their mother gave me eggs because of the lifts. They seemed like really nice people. It’s an awful terrible tragedy, especially just before Christmas.”