Mum whose daughter is buried in arms of ‘monster’ Cork dad reaches €50k fundraising target for exhumation

A MUM whose daughter is buried in the arms of the “monster” that killed her has reached the €50,000 fundraising target she set to have the body exhumed.

Rebecca Saunders was just 26-years-old when her husband, Martin McCarthy, 50, drowned Clarissa at Audley Cove in West Cork on March 5, 2013.

Rebecca Saunders pictured with her daughter Clarissa

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Rebecca Saunders pictured with her daughter Clarissa
Clarissa died in 2013

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Clarissa died in 2013
Rebecca has hit her GoFundMe target

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Rebecca has hit her GoFundMe target

Rebecca wants to use the money to bring her child back to the US. She tweeted: “We’ve done it – thank you” as her Go Fund me page smashed the target.

The success followed a huge public reaction to her appearance on RTE’s Claire Byrne Live this week.

LEGAL BATTLE

However, the Irish Sun has learned that the young mum could be facing into a lengthy legal battle.

According to sources the process is long and complicated particularly as permission to exhume a body must be received from the family member who holds the deeds to the grave.

It is understood a member of the McCarthy family has the legal hold over the plot in Schull.

Sources say they may be opposed to having the grave disturbed and to Clarissa being taken from her dad, whom she adored.

EXHUMATION ORDERS

The process also involves the Minister for Justice, who has to sign off on exhumation orders and officials in Cork County Council, who would have to provide personnel to observe the digging of the grave and the local coroner.

A source said: “It’s not an easy thing to do when there is agreement between the parties but in a case like this it could result in a long and costly legal battle before being resolved one way or another”.

Rebecca, who married bachelor farmer Martin McCarthy and lived with him and Clarissa at Audley Cove near Ballydehob in West Cork now lives in Houston in Texas with her husband and children.

She told how “in a fog of grief and shock” she permitted her darling child Clarissa to be buried “with the father she loved, but who took her life from her.”

The couple met when Rebecca was visiting West Cork as a student aged just 16 and returned from America when she was 18 to marry the confirmed bachelor.

Three days after the horrific event the dad and his daughter shared a single coffin and were laid to rest in an adjacent graveyard.

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