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Monday 1 September 2014

'House of Horrors' victim murdered after love row

Ralph Riegel

Published 28/03/2014 | 02:30

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Ciprian Grozavu, left, outside court, and coaccused Catherine O'Connor, right, before she was jailed. Above: murdered man John Forrester and, below, second victim Jonathan Duke.
Ciprian Grozavu, left, outside court, and coaccused Catherine O'Connor, right, before she was jailed. Above: murdered man John Forrester and, below, second victim Jonathan Duke.

A Romanian man brutally murdered an English father of four in a jealous row after the victim had professed his love for his former Irish girlfriend.

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Ciprian Grozavu (39) received a life sentence after being convicted of the 'House of Horrors' murder of John Forrester (42) whose battered and bound body was recovered from the River Bandon in west Cork three years ago.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Grozavu, with his girlfriend, Catherine O'Connor (38), also murdered Jonathan Duke (27), in the same Bandon flats complex just 24 hours later after Mr Duke had become aware of the Englishman's killing.

Both were convicted of Mr Duke's murder last year following a two-week trial.

Two flats in the Bandon complex were later found by gardai to be drenched in the two men's blood.

O'Connor – who had a swastika tattoo on her face – had been dating Mr Forrester before ending the relationship and moving in with Grozavu in the same Bridge House complex.

TORTURE

Mr Duke's battered body had also been tied with a flex and dumped in the River Bandon.

Det Sgt Fergal Foley said they went to Bridge House in Bandon on November 13, 2011, to investigate a suspected murder after two locals had spotted a body being dumped into the river.

Within hours, shocked gardai realised they were dealing with a double murder.

Grozavu, O'Connor and Mr Forrester had been drinking all day on November 11/12 and had returned to Bridge House.

"It is our belief that something was said...Mr Forrester professed his love for Ms O'Connor.

"That instigated the row," Det Sgt Foley said.

While Grozavu strangled Mr Forrester with a strip of clothing, O'Connor repeatedly stabbed him with a broken Manchester United mug.

His blood-stained body was later tied, wrapped in an old rug and dumped into the river which flows in front of the flats complex.

The following day Mr Duke went to Bridge House and, after spending time with O'Connor and Grozavu, saw the blood-stained flat where the Englishman had died.

O'Connor later exposed herself to him and, when Duke passed a remark on her nakedness, she warned him: "If you are not careful you will be next."

"It is our belief that Jonathan Duke was murdered because he had knowledge of the murder of John Forrester," the detective added.

Grozavu was yesterday convicted of the murder of Mr Forrester on November 12, 2011.

The jury had deliberated for four hours and 15 minutes.

Both Grozavu and O'Connor are already serving life sentences for the murder of Mr Duke.

Grozavu had insisted throughout his trial that the Englishman was killed by O'Connor acting alone.

O'Connor, a mother of three, had pleaded guilty to Mr Forrester's murder last October.

Mr Forrester's nephew, Jamie, said they had been put them through "hell" by the manner of the brutal killing.

"We hope she'll (O'Connor) never see the light of day again and be allowed to torture another family like she's tortured ours," he said.

The Forrester family said they remain devastated by the cruel murder with Mr Forrester's father losing the will to fight cancer after the savage killing of his son.

"People who are capable of such violence as this should not be allowed their freedom," the family added.

Mr Forrester's body was found in the River Bandon tied with a cable and a cardigan belt. His body – found almost 2km downstream of the west Cork town – had also been wrapped in an old carpet.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster told the trial that Mr Forrester died from a combination of blunt force trauma to the head, bleeding due to multiple wounds inflicted by a sharp object and asphyxia due to strangulation.

A native of Blackpool, Mr Forrester was known in west Cork as 'Johnny English.'

He had four children in the UK but had been living in Ireland for a number of years.

Irish Independent

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