Tipperary couple may have died from carbon monoxide poisoning up to 18 months ago

Gardaí are investigating the cause of death of the Tipperary couple whose bodies lay undiscovered in their rural bungalow for an estimated 18 months until they were found this week.

The milk packet and other items found at the house have indicated the elderly couple could have died in November or December 2020.

There is speculation they may have died from Covid-19 or carbon monoxide poisoning, but investigators stressed they were keeping an open mind.

Gardaí are awaiting the results of toxicology and other tests.

The British couple, named locally as Nicholas Smith, 81, and his wife, Hilary Smith, 79, lived in a remote townland called Rossane, about three miles from Cloneen village in County Tipperary.

Nicholas was in a bedroom and Hilary was in the living room. The blinds were pulled down. There was no sign of foul play or forced entry.

The couple had reportedly worked on cruise ships in Australia – Nicholas is said to have been a captain – before retiring to Ireland and moving to Rossane about a decade ago. They are not believed to have had children.

Mark Fitzgerald, a councillor, said the community felt shocked and sad and also felt unfairly criticised social media, where there have been accusations of a lack of neighbourliness.

Mark told reporters, “They had told people they were moving, The assumption was these people weren’t living in the area anymore. We know very little about the couple. Personally, as a councillor and publican, you’d know everybody in the area but I never met them. They really did keep to themselves and you have to respect that.”

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