Reclusive woman lay dead at her Faythe home for months

By David Tucker

Published 24/11/2015 | 00:00

Flowers at the door of the late Brigid Crosbie's home in The Faythe.
Flowers at the door of the late Brigid Crosbie's home in The Faythe.

AN 83-year-old Wexford woman lay dead for at least two months at her home in the Faythe, her body discovered after gardai broke into the house on Friday night.

It was at least the third time the guards broke into Brigid Crosbie's house following concerns about her welfare. On a previous occasion, she responded only when officers clambered up a ladder to break in after she failed to answer knocks to her door and windows.

Brigid, was originally from the Foulksmills area, but had lived in self-imposed isolation in the Faythe for many years in the house where she nursed her parents until their deaths. She had no telephone and would not answer knocks on her door.

Read more here: Family tried to reach out to Bridget

Anyone who wanted to see her would have to ask for an appointment and even the door was often firmly closed.

Neighbours said she was reclusive, but not a recluse, as she would shop locally and would travel on the train to Dublin where she handed out leaflets about the Palmerian Church, to which she was a convert.

Wexford funeral home director Paddy Mulligan, whose premises are opposite Brigid's house, said her isolation was her own choice and 'it wasn't for the lack of both her neighbours and family trying to keep an eye on her'.

He said family members, who she had broken contact with, often travelled to the Faythe to try to check on her welfare.

'I had known here since I came to the Faythe in 1980. She was a grand lady, who minded her own business, and went about her own thing. She was quiet and wanted to live on her own, but I would have been seen her on a regular basis.'

'There were no telltale signs at what had happened at her house. It looked exactly the same. She been living in the back, the lights were (always) on and there were relgious pictures in the windows,' he said. Paddy said her desire for isolation added to the difficulties of those who were trying to look out for her.

Both religious pictures are from the Palmerian Church, one of them lit by a small electric bulb in front of it, the curtains drawn closed.

'People are entitled to their privacy. You can't be peering in the letterbox or the windows or calling the guards because she hadn't been seen,' said Paddy.

Another neighbour said that a few months ago, Brigid had been found collapsed outside her home and an ambulance was called.

'She was lying on the footpath and in a bad way and was helped to the door, but she refused to go to hospital,' said the neighbour, who asked not to be identified.

He said the gardai had been frequent visitors to the house, but the front door remained closed.

The neighbour said Brigid, who was always dressed in black, would avoid contact with people she knew, but would approach strangers when she was shopping to hand out religious pamphlets and to try to convert them to her faith.

'If they stopped to listen, she would talk to them,' he said.

Neighbour Tom Gilligan said Brigid had at some stage in the recent past blocked her door front door with a box.

He said he hadn't seen her since her collapse and was among neighbours who called the gardai who told him 'we know that lady'.

Cllr Fergie Kehoe said Brigid used to come in for a cup of tea when he was running his SideTracks Cafe.

'She use to come in for a cup of tea, but then she could go off for a week or two,' he said, 'she was a very knowledgeable person, very into her own religion,' he said, referring to her membership of the Palmarian Church which believes its own Spanish-based pope is the true pope.

Mayor Cllr Ger Carthy said he was shocked at news of her death and expressed his sympathies with her family.

'No one should pass away alone,' he said.

People in her native Foulksmills village were shocked by the news.

Foulksmills postmistress Caroline Foxe said: 'She is from a lovely family. People are really shocked and very sad. It's a really sad and melancholy feeling that she wouldn't have turned to somebody..It's really shocking and everyone feels for the family.'

Local people said she has a brother, Robert, living in Foulksmills although Ms Foxe said the elderly lady has not visited the area for some time.

'She was always extremely religious and reclusive, especially in latter years. Any time you would meet her on the street she would tell you to pray to Padre Pio or our Lady. She was a lovely lady but she was so extremely into religion. She would always have a candle lighting in her window at her home in Wexford.'

While most of Brigid's family members are from the Foulksmills area, she also has cousins in Camross.

A private funeral will be held, but details have not been made public.

Brigid's death was the second involving a person in Wexford in recent recent years whose passing was not discovered for months. In 2012, the body of 62-year-old Englishman Alan Moore was discovered at his home on Lower John Street months after he had died. Alan had no family in Ireland and after his relatives were traced in England and travelled over to the funeral they said no-one was to blame.

Chief Superintendent John Roche said Brigid's death was being treated as a sudden death. 'A post mortem was carried out in Waterford this morning and it indicated nothing suspicious.'

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