Robert Boat, a farmer with the former Irish government, had plenty of material to burn when he raided a garden shed and shot four out of his family, their bodies having been eaten alive in the depths of a quarry.
When the scene of his crimes became too gruesome for him, he killed himself by leaping out of the Sainte Devote dam at East Kew, south-west London, during a police siege.
Now, his estranged family has asked a high court judge to rule that his four daughters should be paid an immediate lump sum to prevent Buster Boat, the 66-year-old former Irish taoiseach’s adult son, from destroying his inheritance.
Robert Boat, whose 68-year-old wife died of cyanide poisoning in 1985, directed that the bodies of their siblings die in the same way.
The four children were met at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday by senior counsel Peter Phillips, who argued that Buster should be barred from dividing up the family’s wealth at his own discretion – as he has done for the past 32 years.
Some of his wealth was from golfing gilt at the Chiltern Hills and other investments; it also included 37 acres of land in Ireland and a plot in Kent. The family dispute is over the island’s large fishing lease.
In a statement, the children said they were devastated by the events that led to their parents’ death.
“For decades we have faced the threat of Buster filling our life savings with debt and people adding insult to injury by asking how they can benefit from our misfortune,” they said.
“For a long time we have been asked to question Buster on behalf of his parents and relatives. We understand this is our duty and believe we should all receive financial compensation for the dreadful loss we suffered at the hands of Buster’s abuse of his father, our grandfather.
“We wish we had known at the time of their death how their properties and money had been removed. Our entire life savings have been destroyed and are effectively locked away to protect the wider family’s wealth – we think a fair settlement in this case would be something between £1m and £2m and would allow us to rebuild our lives in a just way.”
Robert Boat admitted the murders in 1987, when he was 52, and was later granted a pardon.