Sligo Tragedy

Shane and Brandon

The recent tragedy unfolding in Sligo (Sunday July 20th 2014) is currently a huge media story in Ireland. Two parents, Shane senior and Carmel Skeffington, came home from a shopping trip to find two of their sons dead. Shane (20) who was babysitting, had stabbed his brother Brandon (9) twice, before hanging himself in the garden shed. Brandon died from his wounds a short time after his parents came home and found him. The community are devastated, no-one saw this coming. Little Brandon idolised his older brother and newspaper reports say they had a great relationship. The media frenzy is palpable, from laying the blame at a couple of minor drug offences, to the ease of access to kitchen knives.

I suppose I should be prepared for my own son’s story to be linked whenever a murder/suicide occurs. Today’s Irish Daily Mail referred to my son, also Shane, and the ‘rise in kitchen-knife killings’. My new found friends, whose children have tragically killed themselves, and sometimes others, might have an opinion on whether to lock up the bathroom presses (medication), kitchen cupboards (knives), garden sheds (hoses, ropes and shears), or maybe someone should confiscate grandma’s knitting needles and sewing scissors? Maybe, just maybe, the newspapers need to focus on another similarity?

The tragedy unfolding in Sligo has revealed that Shane (the older brother) was recently released from Sligo General Hospital where he was receiving psychiatric ‘care’. We know what psychiatric ‘care’ usually consists of: pills, pills and more pills – mind altering drugs which double the risk of suicide and violence. The investigation should start with what drug this young man was prescribed; was it cipramil, the same as my son? Most likely it was an SSRI antidepressant (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor), the family of drug which can cause suicide, violence, worsening depression, mania etc, etc.

Was this young man suffering from akathisia, a severe reaction which occurs with SSRIs, where a person cannot sit still and feels the urgent need to escape from their own body? A full investigation would examine the effects of the ‘care’ this young man received- it certainly didn’t work. Someone needs to answer for these two deaths, blaming it on a 20 year old boy ‘who loved his brother and all his family’ is not good enough!

Brian from AntiDepAware has compiled a list of over 2000 suicides and homicides where antidepressant were involved. The evidence is there if you look for it.

This tragedy has all the hallmarks of being SSRI-induced. The signs to look out for are (1) out of character (2) recently been to the doctor or psychiatrist and (3) totally out of the blue. Dr David Healy did a comprenhensive  report for my son’s inquest. He testified to the dangers of these drugs and that he believed the drug Citalopram (aka Cipramil or Celexa) caused my son to behave so uncharacteristically. The inquest jury rejected a suicide verdict on account of Dr Healy’s testimony. His report is here.

The devastation left behind in Sligo is mind-numbing; 2 boys suffering a violent death, parents left in devasted bewilderment, in a world which will never be the same again. I believe with all my heart that the mental health care Shane Skeffington received is to blame for these two deaths! I also believe that these deaths were preventable. Kathleen Lynch, the minister with responsibility for mental health, was informed (by 3 experts) of the dangers of these drugs; she did nothing. Enda Kenny and James Reilly were also made aware; they did nothing!

8 thoughts on “Sligo Tragedy

  1. Leonie,

    I am so sorry you are living through another tragedy that brings your own back to the forefront—with all of the uninformed thinking and blaming. You are in my heart as this tragedy unfolds. I am there with you in spirit and so saddened about another loss that could have been prevented.

    Love, Kim

    Kim Bechthold

    Chief Executive Officer

    Sundance Diagnostics, Inc.

    2525 Arapahoe Avenue

    Suite E4-553

    Boulder, CO 80302

    T 303 862-2770

    M 303 513-5522

    F 303 595-5289


  2. Another ‘violent murder-suicide’ from psychiatric ‘care’. The details of exactly what type of ‘care’ this young man received and what meds (if any) he was prescribed? this info needs to be released and taken into account. People need to be warned and informed of the dangers of meds.There are far too many of these incidents happening and in light of the side effects of medications, psychiatric practices need to be scrutinized and reformed…


  3. Those of us (and we are large in number) whose children have harmed others and/or died as a result of mental health treatment know the common thread between our stories is not the method of death, the weapon used, family dynamics or anything else – its is mind-altering prescription drugs and the negligence of the system that link our children. Restricting access to kitchen knives will do nothing to prevent the next violent deaths of people under the ‘care’ of psychiatrists. That will require an end to the relentless pushing of pills proven to cause violence and suicide. These children, like ours, deserve to have the lessons that can be learned from their deaths implemented. Thanks for a great blog Leonie xx


  4. First thing I thought of Leonie when I heard this was ‘oh no, another SSRI death’, it’s so predictable and so preventable and so so sad that no warnings are being heeded.

    Keep the faith.


  5. Isn’t it just so, so sad? Those two little boys… Both victims of this pharmaceutical mess and the psychiatric Gods who are trusted as the experts. This Country has to be the worst for psychiatrists and doctors denying all harm with these toxic drugs. Shame on them, there is blood on their hands once again!


  6. This is very sad to hear and my thoughts are with the family.

    I would like to add that I have had experiences with a flat mate who was taking Celexa, and it seemed almost without fail – like clockwork – she would regularly have what I can only describe as “freak out” episodes, combined with very bizarre patterns and behaviors.

    I could tell when it was coming on; she would be sitting outside in the evening staring out into the darkness with a look on her face that I can’t really explain. Shortly thereafter, she’d pace through the entire house, back and forth, in and out, this room, that room. And then get angry and violent.

    She called the police several times in the middle of the night accusing myself and the other flat mate for making too much noise, though both of us were sound asleep in our beds! Or for stealing something. No amount of reasoning, or even allowing her to search our rooms was enough!

    She would light fires in the back yard and then go to work, leaving them to burn unattended, often without anyone even at home!

    It became so unbearable and frightening to be around her that I ultimately waited until she was at work and moved out in a flash, never looking back! Walked away from advance rents and deposits, etc, but I didn’t care since I just KNEW I was not safe!! I now ask colleagues, acquaintances, etcetera if they are on this medication and if they are I avoid them like the plague!


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