Wednesday 28 June 2017

Widow of stab victim weeps as she tells of dad with gold heart

Eoghan MacConnell

DEREK McDonagh hugged and kissed his baby son as usual when he prepared to leave the house on Monday morning.

Hours later the doting father was dead after a violent altercation erupted in the Arden View housing estate in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Mr McDonagh, a settled Traveller, collapsed on the road after being stabbed in the body and was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Up to 10 people are believed to have been involved in the row which began shortly before 11am on Monday.

Last night 22-year-old Richard Donovan, with an address at the unofficial halting site, Kilcruttin, Tullamore, Co Offaly, was charged at Tullamore District Court with the murder of Mr McDonagh.

Yesterday his devastated wife Kathleen, who is seven weeks pregnant, choked back tears as she told how little Derek Jnr will "never see his daddy again".

She said: "You couldn't get a better man than Derek McDonagh. A good father, good husband, good son, good brother.

"His family was his life -- he lived for them."

Sitting among stunned relatives at home, she told how her 27-year-old husband had been looking forward to his son Derek junior's first birthday on October 4.

"He was harmless, good-hearted, lived for his family, loved his little boy, did everything good and had a heart of complete gold.

"He loved his little boy. That morning leaving the house he was kissing him and hugged him, 'Oh I love you my little man, you're my life, I love you,' and walked out.

"I'm left here now with a son, he'll be one in two weeks, and I'm expecting another baby. There's no explanation for it."

Kathleen described Derek as an outgoing man who enjoyed handball, horses and dealing in cars.

"His daddy wanted to have a big party for him (his son), inviting everyone on he was. Sure he won't even be there now to see his first child's birthday.

"He was so looking forward to this party because he was a proper family man."

Heartache

Mr McDonagh's sister Victoria also spoke of her heartache. "He never even got to see his child's first birthday and now she's pregnant for him again."

"He loved his family, he would always check on them to make sure they were all right," she said.

His mother Theresa was overwhelmed with grief. Clutching a picture of her son she repeated: "My Derek, my poor boy."

Kathleen said that Theresa's and husband Anthony's lives have been torn apart by the tragedy. "Their hearts are breaking over him, he was still their baby, no matter how old you are, that's still your baby.

"That's a part of us gone, he was my life. We're not even married three years yet."

She added: "We are literally living a nightmare, we are going to live a nightmare for the rest of our life."

Irish Independent

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