Irish twin brothers will be buried in paupers' graves unless next of kin is found

Irish twin brothers will be buried in paupers' graves unless next of kin is found

THE IRISH community in North London is attempting to trace the next of kin for twin brothers from Cork, Ireland who died within weeks of each other.

The bodies of William and John Kelly, 77, are currently lying unclaimed in two separate morgues in the city.

William, known as Bill, from Turner’s Cross in the south of Cork City, died on January 29 in Muswell Hill, north London.

It was only when his friend Margaret Deeney went in search of a relative that is was discovered that his estranged twin brother John, who lived in Archway, had also passed away.

“They had a sister Mary who died about two years ago,” Mrs Deeney explained. “We found out through the undertakers from her funeral that there was another brother called John and we got his address to let him know Bill had passed away.”


Mrs Deeney, after consulting the priest at her local church, Our Lady of Muswell, went to Archway to inform John about his brother's death.

When she got no answer, she called to a neighbour to ask him to let John Kelly know she had called.

“He rang me the next morning and said that he started to worry once I’d left about what happened to John,” she said explaining how the neighbour realised it had been some time since he’d seen the Irishman.

“He told me he rang an ambulance and they couldn’t gain access to the house and then the police were called and they made their way inside and found that John had died too.”

His body is now lying in the coroner’s office in Hornsey, also awaiting a next of kin to come forward.

The twins were estranged for a number of years before their deaths.

Born on August 27, 1938, the Kellys came to London around the age of 18.


Both men are described as quite reclusive, so little is known about their early years in the English capital.

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The Kelly twins came from Cork City to London. Picture via Ireland's Content Pool The Kelly twins came from Cork City to London. Picture via Ireland's Content Pool

“William suffered from mental health issues for a number of years,” his social worker Elizabeth Blanch told The Irish Post.

“He worked in Marks and Spencer as a porter but left work because of his health problems. He was living in his current flat for 10 years, he told me, and I never remember seeing any personal items in it.”

Bill moved into sheltered accommodation at Cranley Dene Court in Muswell Hill in 2006.


With his pension, he enjoyed a pint and occasionally betting on horses – and Mrs Deeney remembered him as a very honest man.

“If he borrowed a fiver for a drink he would come straight back to you with it once his pension came in,” she said.

Bill was also a devout Catholic – rarely missing Mass in Our Lady of Muswell Catholic Church.

But despite years of Mrs Deeney and the other members of the Irish community in the area being friends with him, he never spoke about his personal life.

Mrs Deeney and her fellow parishioners in Muswell Hill are hoping a family member of the Kelly twins comes forward, before the brothers are buried in pauper’s graves.

As it stands, Bill’s remains are being held at the hospital mortuary in Whittington Hospital; while John’s are believed to be in Hornsey Coroner’s Office.

“The hope is of course to find someone belonging to them,” Mrs Deeney told The Irish Post.


“But if not, we’d like to bury them together in the one funeral.”

A spokesperson for Whittington Hospital, where Bill’s remains lie, said: We are in the process of using a company called Finders, to see if they can locate any family for Mr Kelly

“If this is unsuccessful or no one wishes to claim the body, then we will arrange a burial.”

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UPDATE: Read our updated story about the Kelly twins here