Thursday 21 September 2017

Exclusive: 'The night before murder Anna was elated to be free' - sister of mother killed by ex-partner

  • Elated Anna spent the night before she was killed making plans for her future
  • Abuser would control Anna's phone, car keys and threaten to kill her family
  • Family want to encourage anyone in need to help to reach out for help
Lisa Finnegan and inset her sister Anna and Vesel Jahiri, who has been jailed for life
Lisa Finnegan and inset her sister Anna and Vesel Jahiri, who has been jailed for life
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The sister of Anna Finnegan, who was murdered by her former partner, has revealed the tragic mum-of-two spent the night before she was killed planning for her future and was “elated to be free".

Anna (24) was murdered by her ex-partner, Kosovan Vesel Jahiri, in 2012. He also stabbed her brother Karl, who was with her as part of her safety plan.

This week Jahiri was jailed for life for her killing.

Anna and Jahiri were in a relationship for a decade and she was subject to escalating abuse at his hands.

In 2012 Anna ended the relationship and spent some time in a women's shelter. 

The night before she was stabbed to death she spent her evening making plans for her future in her sister's house. 

“She said to me ‘I can’t believe I have my whole life ahead of me’, she felt free of him,” her sister Lisa told Independent.ie.

Lisa wants people who may be suffering domestic violence to know how happy her sister was to be free because, as she said, most cases will not end as tragically as Anna's did.

"She felt a sense of empowerment," Lisa said.

Jahiri subjected Anna to mental torture, controlling everything from her mobile phone and their son’s medication, to her contact with family and friends.

Anna Finnegan
Anna Finnegan

“I said to her ‘Anna why didn’t you tell anyone?’ and she said ‘because he was threatening me. He was telling me he would kill you and run to Kosovo with my daughter, I couldn’t move sideways’,” Lisa said.

“She cried herself, in her own blood, to sleep so many times."

Some of the instances of violence left Anna with serious injuries and she told her family she lost count of the number of times she was physically abused.

At the time of her death she had a scab across her arm from when the thug punched her in the head, causing her to fall against her cooker.

Vesel Jahiri
Vesel Jahiri

After that assault Jahiri took Anna's keys and refused to driver her to hospital under a number of days had passed.

But it was the psychological abuse that took its greatest toll Lisa said.

“She told me all this the night before she was murdered,” Lisa said.

“The fear comes from threats that are made… they can be violent threats, psychological threats. In Anna’s case it was threats against us.

“It’s horrendous to think that she was afraid we would be killed at some point – and believed it as well – now we can all see she had very good reason to believe those threats.

“She told me that she could be just up at the cooker cooking and he may have read a message or seen something on Facebook and he would just jump to his own conclusions.

He would just come behind her and whisper in her ear ‘Anna I hope you’re not going anywhere, you’d come back for a funeral, I know that'

"He would just come behind her and whisper in her ear ‘Anna I hope you’re not going anywhere, you’d come back for a funeral, I know that’.

“These fears resonated with Anna and she really took them very seriously.  I can’t imagine, you know, a young girl with her whole life ahead of her, trapped and desperate.”

“It has to get to you after a while, it has to really sink in and you must believe that you are in mortal danger.

“The day that we had to leave for the shelter we literally had to run.

Lisa said when Anna did reveal the abuse her family were incredibly supportive of her and she wants other victims to realise that they too can get help.

“I really wanted to know from Anna how so much time had gone by… she said the biggest feeling that she could tell me was that she felt [needlessly] ashamed,” she said.

“The more it happened the harder it got to admit and the shame just got bigger and bigger... when in fact all along he should have been feeling shame."

She hopes that Anna’s story will encourage people to reach out and seek help.

A month before her death Anna spent time in a women's shelter when she left Jahiri and it was somewhere where she felt safe and was treated "wonderfully" Lisa said.

“Anna for the time that she spent in this safe house was so happy. She felt safe, her children were safe," she said.

The staff were understanding and were able to counsel and help Anna in various ways, Lisa said.

Anna’s siblings feel a huge burden has been lifted now that Jahiri, whom they all feared, is behind bars for life.

The trial was made all the more difficult by the fact that Jahiri defended himself and the courtroom was subject to his violent outbursts

During a first trial he absconded, leaving the family terrified that he was watching them or would come after them.

Now that fear has been lifted and he has been brought to justice, Lisa said.

“The only thing that would make me happier now is if Anna walked through that door but I know that that won’t happen so this will do for now,” she said.

Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact the National Freephone Helpline on 1800341900 and the Women's Aid website can be found here

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