Psychiatric Failure In Ireland : Brothers Shane and Brandon Skeffington – “Another Murder Suicide In Ireland?”

Another Murder Suicide In Ireland?

This is a very tragic case where it seems that an older brother, Shane Skeffington, (20) stabbed his younger brother, Brandon, (9) to death. Apparently this was completely out of character and there were no previous signs that he would commit such a violent act particularly towards his brother. Shane, then went on to kill himself. According to reports he was under psychiatric care and (like most young people) had dabbled in drugs such as cocaine and cannabis, but what I would be more worried about was the so called psychiatric ‘care’ he received. It’s often the psychiatric drug treatments which are the compounding factor in these cases. This website’ antidepaware ‘ has correlated thousands of similar cases of psychiatric drug related deaths.

Some Questions Which The Media Need To Probe:

Were meds involved? What kind of psychiatric ‘treatment’ did Shane Skeffington receive? and for how long? did he express suicidal or violent thoughts under this ‘care’ and to whom? Was he prescribed SSRI’s? (or an anti-psychotic or other drug) If so, why was he not monitored for emerging aggression, akathisia (an extreme nervous system condition which drives people psychotic), or suicidal/homicidal ideation (all known SSRI side effects which are even included now in warning leaflets).

Regardless of whether he received drugs from a psychiatrist or not, it is clear to me that psychiatry has failed this young man and his younger brother. If psychiatry was successful then why do so many of its patients either never get better or get worse and go on to kill themselves or others? Psychiatry is a wealthy institution but they always complain of a lack of funding- but what we need to ask is why are consultant psychiatrists paid astronomical salaries? Surely some of that money could be used to provide funding for intensive psycho-therapeutic interventions such as in emergency cases like this one? Why are these obviously very vulnerable, disturbed and frightened young people just drugged and thrown back out on the street without proper care and proper warnings? why does psychiatry get away with lying to the public about the dangers of medication?

Something is wrong here, terribly wrong. I don’t care what anyone says- psychiatric consultant and high level psychiatrists salaries are obscene- particularly when you consider their absolutely dismal track record. Nobody gets cured! And once people enter the psychiatric system they either get worse or they die- what does that tell you? We need complete transparency, which doctors and psychiatrists in Ireland are in the pocket of drug companies? Which ones receive honoria and payment for research etc,  and how is this pharmaceutical/psychiatric alliance funded in Universities and hospitals?

Parents’ frantic attempts to save stab boy Brandon

THE parents of a little boy who was murdered by his older brother before he took his own life desperately tried to save the nine-year-old child.

Brandon Skeffington (9) was still alive when his mother and father returned home and found him bleeding heavily on the stairs at their home near Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.

And the Herald can today reveal that a 15-year-old sister of the two brothers who died was also in the house when the horrific stabbing occurred.

It is believed she did not witness the fatal knife attack on Sunday evening.

Shane Skeffington (20) had been receiving psychiatric treatment in a mental hospital just days before the tragedy happened.

He was last night described as a “ticking time-bomb” and was implicated in at least two drug-fuelled assaults before he stabbed his innocent brother Brandon to death.

The killer used a large kitchen knife from the house to stab Brandon once in the chest before their parents arrived home just before 8pm.

Little Brandon was desperately clinging to life when he was discovered by his shocked parents Carmel and Shane senior at the top of the stairs in their home.

But the horror got even worse, when Mr Skeffington discovered the body of their eldest son in a shed at the back of their property moments later. They immediately contacted emergency services.

Senior sources say that there was no premeditation in relation to the attack and that Shane was “very fond” of his younger brother.

“In fact, all the available information is that Shane thought the world of Brandon and there were no significant issues there,” said a source.

Sligo Tragedy

22 Jul

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!




  1. lensgirl53

    Long before my son died by suicide, when he was just a pubescent teen…I was hesitant to get him psychiatric help because of the same suspicions you have told about. I have never known anyone who was under this kind of care to get better…only worse. For a short time I was on anti-depressants and experienced the horror of its negative effects. My son took part of his wife’s anti-depressants (he should not have, I know) and I believe it played a role in his suicide. The snake oil pushed by drug companies is toxic…all for greed. I don’t know when the public will become less trusting and more educated. It is a global problem.

    • truthman30

      It is a global problem, you are correct. The general public are being made more aware through the internet and because of good ethical people like James Davies (author of Cracked), David Healy, and Robert Whitaker (author of anatomy of an epidemic) Thanks for you comment, and sincere condolences for the death of your son.

  2. professorjane

    Medication could have played a role, but most people who are over-medicated do not commit violent acts. Something else may have been happening to the older brother. I wonder about the effects of video games. Also one of his close relatives had killed his own son a few years ago. Such experiences get absorbed into people’s minds, even if they don’t realize it. When something triggers an episode of extreme distress, thoughts of violence can come to mind. Over-medication could have stopped him from considering consequences of acting out his violent thoughts. It could be that it was both the medication and violent thoughts that resulted in violent actions. We have to do something about both–stop over-medication and stop bombarding kids with violent media. If violence happens in their families, ensure that the children have opportunities to talk about what those violent acts mean to them. The older brother could have experienced severe trauma earlier in his life when his male relative killed his son.

    • truthman30

      Well, it’s all speculation at this point. But the point is- psychiatry failed this young man. And SSRI’s do cause violence, and aggression, I experienced it myself so I know what I am talking about. Thanks for commenting though- much appreciated…

    • Fiachra

      Dear Professor Jane,

      “…Medication could have played a role, but most people who are over-medicated do not commit violent acts….”
      As with this very tragic happening Drug induced violence is generally speaking “dramatic”. Mental Health Professionals have been aware of this “violence connection” since neuroleptics came on the scene in 1955 – but they use their professional positions to suppress acknowledgement.

      Commenting on my own case many years ago (in 1984) – I was given a first time depot injection, released into the community and within 48 hrs I had to fight my way back into the Psychiatric Unit (in Western Ireland) – as I was going mad on the medication and I knew it (I’d had 2 suicide attempts under similar circumstances before).

      By 1984 I had all the diagnoses but I quit strong medications and move to psychotherapy. The extrapyramidal reactions and suicidal reactions then stopped, my disability and dependence stopped, and I made long term recovery.

      When I left Ireland in 1986 I wrote to my ‘doctors’ in Western Ireland and asked them to send over Warning to the UK concerning my Adverse Drug Reactions. The ‘doctors’ sent over a Record Summary of me to the UK in the ‘negative’, but WITHOUT any ADR Warning included.

      (I have a copy of my 1986 handwritten ADR Warning Request letter – it was in the back of my (foi requested) Irish notes).

  3. john

    My heart goes out to the Skeffington family on this awful tragedy and to the family of Shane.
    While I agree so called pyschiatric care is USELESS its important to note that this is Hypothetical. None of us Know if this guy was on SSRIs or not. Can this family of drugs worsen symptoms?YES.certainly in the short term.Are they an effective method of dealing with anxiety,depression etc?No. Pyschotherapy is. Doctors over-prescribe.Mainly cos they’re covering their own backs.Someone comes to them paying they’re depressed?panic?They write a prescription.Its cultural.The better ones refer patients but sadly to pyschiatrists-not therapists-mainly.and pyschiatrists medicate.
    So the system is shit that’s true. Again guesswork however im reading this young man allegedly used,how often no idea,cocaine.Why is that not being associated with this act?Its massively stimulating and has a different effect on every user.Could also be this lad had a pyschotic break.What was his diagnosis in hospital?Had they even discovered.He may have suffered from schizoid disorders,bipolar or as someone said PTSD after an earlier family tragedy.He may have suffered from none of the above.Or several.He may have been messing with coke.or not.We’re just guessing.Finally despite genuine cases of awful things SSRI s have saved lives as well. The mental health service in Ireland Needs to be addressed and and funded properly.three things its being denied by our government and previous ones.Rest in peace to all concerned in tragedies like this and love and support to their families

    • truthman30

      My point was not so much whether he was on SSRI’s or not- although SSRI’s are linked to murder and suicide and in particular ‘murder-suicides’- nonetheless my point was about how psychiatric care in itself is useless… drugs or no drugs… if he was under psychiatric care and this was the outcome of the ‘treatment’ then the treatment is crap and people deserve better , especially considering the huge fees that consultant psychiatrists and psychiatric care costs… must be a better way to spend this money…

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