‘I need to make sure he serves every second possible’ - Killer of mother and two daughters applies for parole after just eight years
The brother of Sharon Whelan, who was murdered on Christmas Day in 2008, is fighting to keep killer Brian Hennessy in jail as he applies for parole.
Sharon Whelan was raped and strangled to death before her two daughters, Zsara (seven) and Nadia (two) died from smoke inhalation when Hennessy set fire to the house.
Sharon’s brother John spoke on The Anton Savage Show on TodayFM following the news that Hennessy is applying for parole.
Hennessy had previously been handed three life sentences, to be served one after the other, for the Christmas morning murders.
In November 2010 the killer succeeded in his uncontested application to the Court of Criminal Appeal to have all three life sentences run concurrently.
“Which one is he serving that life sentence for? Which one? I’d like to know, my family would like to know," said John.
“One third of my family was wiped out in one night by someone who made the conscious decision to do so."
A life sentence sees a person spend anything from 12 years to the rest of their natural life behind bars -- depending on the prisoner's behaviour in jail and whether or not they are considered fit for release.
John and his family found out last Wednesday that Hennessy is filling out paperwork and applying for parole in November.
“On one hand, we knew that this was coming,” he said.
“The reaction is one of anger, of frustration. We were hoping he wouldn’t, and that he’d spare us that, but that’s how the system works.
“To us, it’s [the last seven years] been the blink of an eye. My parents are in their seventies. It is my goal in life to make sure that Brian Hennessy doesn’t get out before my parents pass away.
“I don’t want my parents to see him out on the street. I shouldn’t have to come to programmes like this Anton, with all due respect, to fight to keep someone like him in jail.
“There’s no compassion for victim’s families in situations like this. We are re-traumatised now, we’re going to be every year or two after this because he can keep appealing until the minister decides when he’s free.”
John is the chairman of Advic, a support group that campaigns for greater rights for victims of homicide, their families and friends.
“I don’t want to be sitting at home in years to come and this guy is released and I’m saying, ‘Did I do enough to make sure that he’s kept behind bars?’”
“I have to embarrass the State to make sure that this guy is kept in prison. I need to keep it out there to make sure that he serves every single second possible for what he’s done.”