Sunday 24 September 2017

'He took an angel that night': Family's relief as 'monster' gets life for killing young mum

Lisa Finnegan, sister of Anna Finnegan who was murdered by former partner Vesel Jahiri, issues an appeal to victims of domestic violence outside the Central Criminal Court after he was sentenced to life. Photo: Collins Courts
Lisa Finnegan, sister of Anna Finnegan who was murdered by former partner Vesel Jahiri, issues an appeal to victims of domestic violence outside the Central Criminal Court after he was sentenced to life. Photo: Collins Courts

Andrew Phelan

Murderer Vesel Jahiri "took an angel" from her family when he stabbed Anna Finnegan to death, her heartbroken sister has said.

Lisa Finnegan told the Central Criminal Court Anna was a "loving, kind, selfless soul" and the family would never get over her loss.

She was delivering a victim impact statement as Jahiri (36) was jailed for life for murdering Anna (25), who was his ex-partner and the mother of his two children.

He had the mandatory life sentence handed down by Mr Justice Paul Coffey, along with a concurrent four-year jail term for stabbing Anna's brother Karl Finnegan in the head and chest in the same attack.

Mr Finnegan told the court Anna was a "devoted mother" and had been robbed of a chance to see her children grow up.

Jahiri was not present to hear their victim impact statements, after asking to be taken out of court earlier because he did not want to listen to the prosecution's summary of the evidence.

Anna Finnegan
Anna Finnegan

When he returned, flanked by four prison guards, three of whom were dressed in full riot gear, Jahiri stared straight ahead and showed no emotion as sentence was passed.

Jahiri kicked in Anna's front door and stabbed her to death in her own home a month after she had sought refuge at a women's shelter because of his abuse.

The attacks happened at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, on September 21, 2012.

Jahiri, originally from Kosovo, had pleaded not guilty to both charges and had legally represented himself after repeatedly dismissing his lawyers. He had to be removed from the court several times in the course of the trial.

On one occasion he had to be wrestled to the ground by prison officers after he punched prosecuting counsel Patrick Marrinan in the face.

The court had been told Jahiri made Anna's life "hell". She had written that he had beaten her before and "almost killed her". They had been together since she was 16.

A jury found him guilty by unanimous verdict. This was Jahiri's second trial for the murder after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his first trial in 2014.

"Since my sister Anna was murdered in such a savage and terrifying manner, my mind has never recovered," Lisa Finnegan said in her statement yesterday.

Vesel Jahiri. Photo: Collins
Vesel Jahiri. Photo: Collins

"I can and will never be the same person again.

"The events of that night, the terror, the panic, the mayhem, the devastation, the shock, will stay with me until the day I die.

"On that night when my brother Karl was also attacked and assaulted by this monster, I, moments after the attack, was told he would be down for myself and my children," she said.

"As we had now seen this monster for what he was, instant terror entered our lives until he was eventually found.

"The pure terror again while he was on bail, and after he absconded I barely left my home or left my children's side and sleep was a thing of the past," she continued.

Karl Finnegan, who was also attacked by Vesel Jahiri. Photo: Collins Courts
Karl Finnegan, who was also attacked by Vesel Jahiri. Photo: Collins Courts

"I couldn't see Anna's babies for fear that we were being watched, which we knew he did on Anna so many times," she went on.

"Our lives have mostly been a living hell for the last four-and-a-half years.

"He took an angel that night," Lisa said.

"We will never get over the loss of Anna. I will never get over my sister's life being taken so brutally."

Mr Finnegan said his sister had been his "rock" and it was difficult to imagine that he would never speak to her again.

She had been the peacemaker in the family, and always had a kind word, he said.

"It was heartbreaking to think that her children had been robbed of "their mammy," he said.

Outside the court, Lisa said the family was "very relieved" the "gruelling" trials were over.

Irish Independent

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