Lessons from Charleville..

O'Driscoll Brothers

This week an inquest was held into the deaths of Jonathan O’Driscoll and his twin brothers from Charleville, Co Cork. Jonathan fatally stabbed his beloved little brothers before killing himself last year (September 2014). It was just one of a number of shocking Irish murder-suicides in recent years.

Jonathan was looking for help. He had many visits with doctors, mental-health teams and at least one consultation with a psychiatrist. Instead, as is now common practice, the ‘help’ Jonathan received was drugs, drugs and more drugs. His final visit with a psychiatrist (Dr Bobby Burns), a few weeks before this tragedy ensued, led to a prescription for a new (as yet unnamed) drug. The dose was due to be increased over several months. The psychiatrist testified that he was deeply concerned that Jonathan might be exhibiting the early signs of schizophrenia but following this prescription ‘Jonathan’s mental health improved’. Inexplicably, the latter would seem to contradict the subsequent actions that led to the deaths of Jonathan, Thomas and Paddy.

It was reported in the Irish Independent that Jonathan’s mother was unaware of the amount of drugs that he was prescribed. She was “totally shocked” by the number of medications he was on, further stating “I found a lot of tablets after Jonathan had passed away, God speed him. He seemed to be on a lot of tablets”.

Despite the suicide and violence warnings attached to these powerful drugs, it should be noted that these deaths are not being associated with the prescribed drugs, but rather to Jonathan stopping the drugs (aka victim blaming). Toxicology tests indicated that he may not have been taking his medication in the days prior to the stabbing. Coroner Dr Michael Kennedy was told Jonathan most likely stopped taking anti-psychotic medication over 48 hours before the tragedy. Yet far from his mental health improving as suggested by Dr Burns, Jonathan had purchased a knife and other materials at least two weeks before the killings. So which was it – was Jonathan improved or worsened by this ‘new’ wonder drug? It seems interesting that this new drug wasn’t named – wouldn’t be good for business, that’s for sure.

Although toxicology results can be hugely unreliable – if it is in fact the case that Jonathan stopped taking the drugs, he would have been in horrific withdrawal – very similar to a street-drug addict. This doesn’t seem to be the case here, as there was a certain degree of pre-planning. I am also personally aware of a number of toxicology results which failed to show SSRI antidepressant use, at least not until the families insisted on a re-test. Either way, the multiple prescribed medications, psychiatrys’ quick fix, the pill for every ill, the new wonder drug, did not work. This young man did not get help – what he did get was a cocktail of mind-altering drugs.


November 2012 – Minor road accident. Jonathan began to frequently visit his GP complaining of aches and pains. No mention of what was prescribed.

Pre-April 2013 – Dr Thomas Molloy prescribed Jonathan anti-depressants.

April 2013 – Jonathan shows first sign of aggression and was referred for a psychiatric assessment.

February 2014 – A locum GP was so concerned about Jonathan’s mental health that he referred him for an urgent psychiatric assessment.

April 2014 – Jonathan was prescribed anti-psychotic drugs.

July 2014 – Consultant psychiatrist Dr Bobby Burns prescribed a new drug, with the dose due to increase incrementally over several months, and Jonathan’s mental health (supposedly) improved over the coming months.

August 2014 – Jonathan purchased a knife and other materials to be used in the killings.

September 4th, 2014 – Jonathan and his little brothers were found dead.

Truthman’s Article ‘What meds did they prescribe Jonathon O’Driscoll‘.

My RxISK Article ‘An Irish Epidemic: Suicide and Homicide on Antidepressants.

A survivor with a similar story ‘The Man Who Thought he was a Monster‘.

5 thoughts on “Lessons from Charleville..”

  1. How many times do we need to see this pattern of violent manic behaviour when either on or coming off these drugs before something is done. My own son suffered a pyschotic episode in the week he stopped antidepressants. Luckily he was arrested quickly before he or anyone else was physically hurt. He has been left damaged by antidepressants mentally and physically.
    The point about this young man is the same point about my son, your son and countless others. They were not like that BEFORE these drugs. They didnt exhibit this extreme violent, manic behaviour before the drugs … only during or within a short time period after stopping them.


    1. It’s pretty much well established now that these drugs do cause these kinds of disturbing reactions. I experienced it myself, and I have met and talked to many others, over the years, who have had similar side effects and withdrawal effects on these drugs. The only ones who are still in denial about the dangers are the psychiatric profession. It’s not good business sense for them, and their profession, to start warning people of these psych drug dangers, that’s why they don’t, and that’s why we continue to have these cases happening…


  2. When my daughter died in 2007 following a withdrawal from Cipramil 10mg and its reinstatement at 20mg the drug did not show in the toxicology report read at her inquest. A small amount of alcohol did show, I did not ask questions neither did my solicitor who was present.
    A few days before her death my daughter wondered if she might be bipolar.There was no diagnosis. The only mental health information available widely at the time was Kerry Katona’s battle with depression/bipolar, Brittany Spears’ hair cutting and car bashing episode and Stephen Fry’s stage fright. I have read about long term and over use of some antidepressants causing worse problems than the original presentation. Was Jonathan’s inner turmoil as a consequence of what he was already prescribed exacerbated by the new unnamed medication?
    Helen O’Driscoll believes that parents of adult children living at home should be aware of their medication so that they can look out for them. I presume she means stuff that is mind altering. All children and adults attending a GP/ psychiatrist/medic need to have another caring adult aware of their diagnosis and medication. There is an old saying that “Doctors can bury their mistakes”


  3. We are blogging and reporting on the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland which we did not know accounts for a huge part of Ireland’s exports. We are investigating why MMS (chlorine dioxide) is being shut down in Ireland. An American doctor and authority on autism was recently found dead, an apparent suicide although we doubt that. He was administering MMS and having beneficial results in autism cases. This story needs more attention: http://www.abeldanger.net/2015/08/big-pharma-and-fda-are-hiring-assassins.html


  4. Thanks for the comments. I think a huge problem is that people cannot comprehend that drugs that your friendly doc prescribed can be as dangerous as illegal ones. Sarah, your experience of the toxicology report is quite normal and why would you question any of the experts? We all thought that the ‘doctors know best’…


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