'Life should mean life' - Man horrified his sister's murderer could be released on parole
Raymond Donovan appeals for parole after only serving 11 years of his life sentence
A man has described himself as horrified that his sister's murderer is asking for parole after only serving 11 years of his life sentence.
Raymond Donovan was given a life sentence in June 2006 for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Ann Walsh.
Mr Donovan had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Walsh, who was strangled in the grounds of St Senan's Church, Kilrush, on August 24 2005.
Mr Donovan admitted to holding Ms Walsh's throat for between one and half and two minutes but told Gardai that he “didn’t mean to choke her”.
Steven Walsh told RTÉ’s Liveline today that there is “no justice” if his parole request is successful.
“Life should mean life. We feel as a family he should serve a lot more time. He can get out when he’s alive, my sister we’ll never see her again,” said Steven.
Steven said it gave his family some comfort knowing that Donovan was in prison but the thought of mentioning parole 11 years later is 'awful'.
“We’ll never get over what happened. She should be here today enjoying herself. She was only 23-years-old, the prime of her life. She never had a chance to have kids or to enjoy life. In the blink of an eye, her life was taken from her,” he said.
Steven told Liveline that since Ms Walsh’s murder the whole family have been on medicine to battle their depression.
“I was just 16-years-old when it happened. I didn’t understand. I never saw my sister again," he continued.
He said he has had to watch his devastated father “going back to where she was buried three times a day, rain, sleet or snow.”
If Donovan is granted parole Steven said he would see him in their hometown.
“If he got out, he wouldn’t be too far away from us," he said.
Former Governor of Mountjoy Prison John Lonergan told Liveline that the average life sentence served by prisoners is 14 years, but depends on their maturity and risk to society.
“While they might not serve a life sentence, there will be life warrant put in place. They can be re-arrested any time,” said Lonergan.
He also said that just because a person applies for parole doesn’t mean it will be granted.
Steven added that Donovan has been allowed out of prison twice before to visit his sick father.
“It feels like the murderer after what he done has more of a say in this than we do,” he said.
“She was so innocent. 11 years on we haven’t got over it, we never will. Life should mean life.”