Spurned lover lured ex to her death by pretending to be an old friend
Published 14/02/2012 | 05:00
THE man who shot his ex-girlfriend to death had lured her to a ghost housing estate by pretending to be an old friend.
Robert Hartery (45) had got a new SIM card for his mobile phone which he used to text Sarah Regan (30) before her murder -- pretending to be a casual acquaintance.
The mum-of-two unwittingly texted him back in the belief that he was somebody else.
The couple had dated for almost two years and lived around the corner from Hartery's mother in Grangemockler, Co Tipperary, before they moved to Cloonfad, Co Roscommon. When the relationship turned sour, Hartery, who had lost his job in construction, moved back to his mother's.
Details are now emerging of the meticulous planning that went into the murder-suicide including how Hartery shaved his moustache, which he had for 20 years, so Ms Regan would not immediately recognise him.
It's now clear Hartery went to Cloonfad on Friday night with a plan to kill his ex-girlfriend.
Gardai uncovered chilling facts that give an insight into Hartery's actions:
• He borrowed a .22 rifle from a friend telling him he was going hunting.
• Hartery got a lift from his blind mother's carer who had no idea what was about to unfold. He did this so Ms Regan would not recognise the car. He left the care assistant at a local pub telling her he was going to Ms Regan's home to collect his belongings from when they lived together.
• He had been texting Ms Regan under a false identity -- leading her to believe he was an old acquaintance from Clonmel who was visiting Roscommon to look at a house on Friday evening.
Ms Regan agreed to meet him to say a quick hello at the Springvale estate. She was still inside the car wearing her seatbelt when Hartery approached wearing a camouflage jacket.
He shot her a number of times in the head before dumping his blood-stained jacket in the back seat of her car.
Hartery fled to the car park of a nearby school where he remained for some time before he shot himself.
Gardai found a suicide note in Hartery's draft messages in his mobile phone. It's understood it detailed how he was "sorry" to both families.
Ms Regan's parents, sisters, and two children Shannan (11) and Dylan (8) are said to be "inconsolable" and "traumatised" by the murder. A garda liaison officer has been appointed to assist the family.
Supt Brendan Connolly, who is leading the investigation in Castlerea, said: "This is being treated as a full murder inquiry."
Ms Regan will be laid to rest after funeral Mass at St Patrick's Church in Cloonfad tomorrow.
Hartery's family are also making arrangements for his burial in Grangemockler, which will take place tomorrow.
Hartery had three children and his mother, Ann, is said to be "devastated".
Sources close to Ms Regan said that she was in the early stages of a new relationship before the tragic events.