Sunday 30 April 2017

'My feelings for Peter's killers go beyond hate' - Eithne Butterly

Eithne Butterly, widow of murdered dissident Peter Butterly
Eithne Butterly, widow of murdered dissident Peter Butterly
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The wife of murdered dissident republican Peter Butterly has said her feelings for his killers go "beyond hatred".

Eithne Butterly spoke to the Irish Independent as two men were found guilty in the Special Criminal Court yesterday of the "callous, brutal and premeditated murder" of her husband.

Sharif Kelly Picture: Collins
Sharif Kelly Picture: Collins

Mr Butterly (35) was shot dead on March 6, 2013, outside The Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath, in what the court described as an ambush.

Edward McGrath (35), of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght, and Sharif Kelly (47), of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan, both in Dublin, both denied the murder, but were convicted by the non-jury court.

"Forgiveness is never a word I can use with them. I can move on with my life, and the lives of our children, without forgiving them," Ms Butterly said. She said there were no winners in the case.

"Yes there are guilty verdicts. But Peter is not coming home. These men have killed him and taken him away from his family, and destroyed their own families' lives also," she said.

Edward McGrath Picture: Collins Courts
Edward McGrath Picture: Collins Courts

"Other people will move on with their lives, and that is only natural, but we will be left in the same situation, so in that sense although we are obviously happy that these men have been found guilty of Peter's murder, there is an anti-climax to it as well."

Mrs Butterly also said the family were never sure of a guilty verdict.

"There's always a chance they could be found not guilty, but it's great to see these men being walked out the door to a prison instead of freedom.

"When the first trial collapsed they were released on bail for two whole years because the court ruled it was their 'legal right'.

"But what about Peter's legal rights? They took all his rights away when they took his life.

"We watched the families of McGrath and Kelly crying in court, but they can still see their sons and brothers and fathers. My family will never see Peter again," Mrs Butterly told the Irish Independent.

One man missing from the trial was Dean Evans, who vanished with his girlfriend just days before being due to face his murder charge.

Gardaí believe it was Evans who pulled the trigger.

Mrs Butterly said she and Peter had been married for 17 years, and her husband was buried on their wedding anniversary on March 16.

The couple had three children together.

Mrs Butterly described him as "a very funny man" and hard-working farmer.

Irish Independent

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