Suicide eyewitnesses tell of last moments of Jason Smurfit

THE GRAPHIC last minutes of millionaire’s son Jason Smurfit’s life were revealed last
night by the man who tried to talk him out of killing himself.
Thairone Human told Ireland on Sunday how he first met the troubled
35-year-old and thought he was a vagrant having a wash at the back of
the church where he set himself on fire.
When he discovered he was pouring petrol over himself, Thairone pleaded
with him repeatedly to stop.
But, the 29-year-old said last night as he forced back tears, Smurfit
refused to even acknowledge him.
Another witness – who asked not to be named – claims he even saw Smurfit
take two mouthfuls from one of the two petrol cans he brought with him
to the London church last Sunday.
The Lebanese man thought Smurfit – whose body is due to be flown to home
later on today or tomorrow morning – was drinking water.
Thairone had just left the baptism of his six-month-old nephew Raiden at
Saints Michael and Martin Church, Bath Road, Hounslow, London on Sunday,
May 7.
He had just turned into the laneway along the side of the church when he
saw Smurfit – who was nephew of packing billionaire Sir Michael Smurfit
– standing with his back to a set of black railings attached to the
building.
He said: “Because of the way he was dressed with his beard and long
black coat, I thought he was a tramp trying to have a quick wash.
“There was a petrol can by his feet and he was shaking another one over
his head as if he was giving himself a shower.
“When I suddenly realised what he was doing and that it was petrol I
went up to him and shouted at him to stop.
“He didn’t look at me once or say a single word.
“Instead, he just stared blankly into the middle distance at a wooden
fence a few feet in front of him.
“He was holding the can firmly with two hands after I shouted at him, he
started shaking it more frantically, trying to force the petrol to come
out faster.
“He also seemed a bit unsteady on his feet, and tripped a couple of
times as if he was drunk.
“I said to him ’Please, please don‘t do this to yourself. Stop it. Stop.’
“I also screamed out for anybody else who was coming out of the church
after the baptism service, but nobody came.
“Again I shouted, I begged, I pleaded with Mr Smurfit – ’Please, please
don’t do this.’
“He just ignored me.
“He then chucked the petrol can to the ground and reached into his
pocket and took out a pink disposable lighter.
“Again, this was without a word and any change in the blank expression
on his face.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I still have flashbacks about it now.
“There was a man in front of me trying to set himself on fire.
“There was a moment of relief when the lighter didn’t work and I thought
he wasn’t going to it but he cursed when this happened.
“He said ’S**t, the f*****g thing isn’t f*****g lighting’.
“He tripped again and almost fell forward as he reached into his pocket
again.
“I shouted at him again not to do it, over and over – and also shouting
out for more help.
“I wanted to run back into the church but I didn’t want to leave him alone.
“But within a few seconds, he’d pulled out a silver lighter.
“He just put it straight away to his chest and he then exploded into a
huge fireball.
“His whole body just caught fire.
“Everything was in flames in a split second.”
By now, Thairone had managed to dial 999 and was giving the emergency
operator a running commentary of what was happening as it happened.
He continued: “The flames shot up into the air and I jumped back.
“He stumbled around for a while and started thrashing his arms about.
“He was also walking about, going from the wall of the church to a
nearby fence, backwards and forwards in complete silence.
“People had started to arrive with water and were trying to get near him
to splash him with it but they just couldn’t get close to him because
the flames were so intense.
“But after a while he stumbled again and fell against a fence and
crumpled to the ground in sitting position, with his back to the fence.
“He was still on fire but at least people were able to get to him with
fire extinguishers and the flames were eventually put out.”
He added: “While were waiting for the ambulance and fire crews to turn
up, he was still alive.
“Although his eyes were closed, his head was half bowed and I could hear
his breathing, which was very laboured.
“His face was all black and charred.
“The whole spectacle is something I will never forget for the rest of my
life.”
Thairone, a recruitment consultant with Office Angels in Hounslow, is to
attend a special counselling session that is being laid on at the church
for other witnesses today.
He said: “I haven’t been back to work since it happened a week ago.
“I really feel that I could have done more for him and constantly ask
myself if I did enough.
“Did I shout loud enough? Could I have tried to say more?
“My heart goes out to the family of this man and I do offer them my
condolences, but I really did try and do what I could.”

His 26-year-old brother Thaireno, a local fireman and one of three fathers

who had taken their children to be baptised at the church, said:

“I shouted for people to call 999 and asked people to get
whatever water or fire extinguishers they could lay their hands on.
“Leaving my six-month-old son Raiden with my wife, I ran out and saw the
man in flames.
“He must have slipped and fallen against a garden fence to the side of
the church.
“When I got there, he was sitting down and he had his back resting
against the garden fence.
“All his clothes were burnt and from what I could see of his face, he
just seemed so expressionless.
“He never said a single word or even give out a scream.
“I really get the impression he was just very determined to do what he did.”

His body is due to return to Ireland later on today or tomorrow.
And although a full funeral is expected to take place later this week, a
special remembrance service is to be held at the London church today.
A parishioner who works at Saints Michael and Martin Church near
Heathrow Airport said he believed the family were expected to say
prayers at the spot where he died.
A bouquet of flowers and a small wooden cross were placed there earlier
in the week.
Prayers were said at 9am mass yesterday morning, as they have been every
day since the tragic incident.
His shocked family are currently in London arranging the transfer of his
body.
Police were able to piece together Smurfit’s last movements after
details – including a hotel key card – of where he had been staying
since arriving in London last Thursday week.
An inquest into his death – which is not being treated as suspicious –
heard he stayed two nights at The Hilton Hotel by Heathrow’s Terminal 4
and – after a dispute with a receptionist – one night at nearby Jurys Inn.
Last Sunday morning, he told staff he wanted to go to mass and asked for
the nearest Catholic Church.
He had not checked out and was expected to spend another night at the hotel.
On the way to Saints Michael and Martin in a silver Mercedes supplied by
an executive chauffeur-driven car company, he stopped off at a garage to
buy a sandwich and two petrol cans.
The man who served him – who is currently off work – admitted later:
“There was something about him.
“He wasn’t all there. He just didn’t seem right in the head.”
Police have now taken CCTV footage of his visit.
The boss of the garage told Ireland on Sunday: “People come in here all
the time to buy petrol in cans.
“Mr Smurfit said his car had run out of petrol and the man who served
him believed him, although later when asked about him – he did feel
there was something strange about him.
“In fairness, we get people in here buying petrol for all sorts of
reasons and they are usually to fill up their cars or for their lawn
mowers.”

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Carbery saviour dies after fall

THE woman who saved one of the oldest – and most eccentric – Irish
aristocratic titles from extinction has died.
Dublin-born Lady (Joyzelle) Carbery was 85 when she fell at her home.
Despite five months extensive treatment in a London hospital for the
head injury she sustained, she never recovered.
She was buried at a centuries-old family plot in west Cork near the
Carbery family’s Rathbarry Castle – which was the scene of the longest
ever siege in Irish history.
Lady Carbery is survived by her husband, the 11th Baron – whose uncle
was linked to one of the most notorious murders of the last century –
and the couple‘s three sons and two daughters.
The family Carbery faced running out of heirs to a title that dates back
to the 1700s until her marriage in 1941 to the current Lord Carbery.
He is a nephew of the larger-than-life 10th Baron, who renounced his
title and changed his name to John Carberry in 1920 after a row with his
mother.
A personal friend of Michael Collins, Carberry was a member of a
notoriously debauched group of colonial ex-pat aristocrats who inspired
the 1987 film White Mischief.
After a colourful life that included being deported from America for
bootlegging, spells in a Kenyan prison and a variety of pioneering
flying exploits, the three-times married peer died in 1970 without an heir.
But not only did the 11th Lord Carberry’s late wife produce three sons,
one – the youngest – is now restoring the Carbery family’s two historic
Cork castles at Castlefreke and Rathbarry which are among historic
family property that he started buying back six years ago.
In complete contrast to his predecessor, the current baron has lived a
life of what one family friend described as “quiet enterprise”.
His youngest son, the Hon Stephen Ralfe Evans-Freke – who runs a
pharmaceutical company in America – said last night: “My mother did not
like flash or trash and instead preferred people who were subtle about
the way they went about their business.
“She was a very private person and devoted her life to raising a family.
“The contrasts between the two sides of the Carbery family couldn‘t have
been more marked and in many respects represent the pre and post-war
changes to the aristocracy.
“If it wasn’t for my mother, our long family line was going to die out.”
Lord Carbery, an 86-year-old World War II veteran who is currently
writing a history about the family, added: “My wife was devoted to her
family and pretty much had her hands full with five children, 12
grand-children and seven great-grandchildren.
“Despite being treated brilliantly in hospital, she just never got over
the accident.
“It happened when she fell out of bed and hit her head.
“She was buried in Ireland because – although she did not visit as much
as she would have hoped to – we felt it was the most appropriate thing
to do.
“She loved the softer, more human side of Ireland and it’s where her
heart was.”
Also titled the 7th Baronet, Sir Peter Ralfe Harrington Evans-Freke –
one of Lord Carbery’s claims to fame was helping manufacture space suits
worn by the first animals sent into space and the first men to land on
the moon.
However it was his uncle, the 10th Baron who blazed a trail that earned
the Carbery name – motto “Liberty” – considerable notoriety.
During the First World War, he was a pilot with the Royal Navy Air
Service and flew into battle with his own private butler.
He sold the family’s Castlefreke castle in 1919 after a row with his
mother over the first of his three wives – who had earlier divorced him
on grounds of cruelty.
Before selling the Gothic pile – which was bought back by the family
three years ago – he used to fly the Irish tricolour at a time when it
was illegal to do so.
An accomplished aviator who was one of the first pilots to do a
loop-the-loop and fly across the English Channel, Lord Carbery was a
personal friend of Michael Collins and even had a brigade of Irish
Volunteers named after him.
He so despised the British that later in his life – during the Second
World War – he let his personal airstrip on his Kenyan estate be used by
the German Luftwaffe during World War II.
A colourful character who took part in the English Channel race that
inspired the 1965 film Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines,
he immigrated to America but he was kicked out by the FBI for
bootlegging and told never to come back.
He settled for good in Kenya in the 1930s, where he ended up at the
centre of one of the biggest murder scandals of the last century.
The case inspired White Mischief, which starred Greta Scacchi and
Charles Dance and which covered the debauched antics in colonial Kenya
of a sexually-liberated and gin-swilling group of rich and bored ex-pat
English aristocrats.
They were dubbed the Happy Valley Set, because of the location where
they all lived, and Lord Carbery and his third wife June were active
members.
They were either hosts or guests at parties where wife-swapping and
drug-taking were commonplace. Heroin use was – at the time – considered
“fashionable”.
White Mischief covered events around January 1941, when the body of
self-styled King of Happy Valley, Josslyn Victor Hay, Earl of Erroll – a
notorious philanderer – was found slumped in his car.
The vehicle was discovered in a ditch and the Scottish aristocrat – who
had had countless affairs with other men’s wives and girlfriends – had
been shot in the head.
Sir Jock Delves Broughton, the husband of a woman Erroll had been having
very public affair with, was tried and acquitted of his murder.
This was despite him admitting to Lord Carbery’s 15-year-old daughter
Juanita just days after the shooting that he had hidden in the back of
Errol’s car while the philanderer was kissing his wife goodnight and
shot him at point-blank range some time after Erroll drove off unaware
his would-be murderer was crouched in the back.
Lady Carbery was one of the last people to see Errol alive and was
questioned by detectives
Broughton eventually returned to England without his wife and, in 1942,
committed suicide in a Liverpool hotel room.
In contrast the lives of the Carberys in Kenya, the 11th earl and his
wife Joyzelle – who got engaged on the dance floor of in London’s Savoy
Hotel during an air raid – preferred to lead much more private and
conservative lives.
While he fought with the Royal Engineers in Burma during the war, she
worked as a nurse during the London Blitz.
They saw each other for little more than one month during the entire war.
After V-Day, they moved back to Ireland but returned to the UK in 1956
because Lord Carbery could not find any work as an engineer.
Business he was involved in while a member of the London Stock Exchange
included Space Equipment Ltd, which was set up to provide clothing and
other equipment for space missions.
Lord Carbery recalled: “It was a brief thing really and it soon got
taken over by bigger companies because there wasn’t the investment to
pay for things like patents.”
His son added that a special trust fund will be set up in his mother’s name.
He said: “Our family has a tradition of setting up trusts in the area to
benefit the less well off and there are plans to set one up in my late
mother’s memory.”

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