Friday 9 December 2016

Taking law into your own hands is a crime

Emer O'Kelly considers why people are uneasy about the 'lenient' sentence handed down to Anne Burke

Published 28/03/2010 | 05:00

The evidence given during the trial of Anne Burke for the manslaughter of her husband Patrick makes the blood run cold; even the limited, edited evidence that made its way into the media outlets.

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For more than 30 years, Anne Burke lived with a man who threatened her life on many occasions, who beat her, verbally abused her, brutalised her, intimidated her in every possible way, and, along the way, made intolerable the lives of their two daughters.

On one occasion, when she was a toddler, one of the daughters recalled standing at the top of the stairs and looking down at her father holding a loaded shotgun to her mother's head, threatening to blow it off. It is an inconceivable thought: however much he hated his wife, did he also hate his children so much that he could put them through such an ordeal? What kind of monster is so lost to his own humanity that he can destroy the peace of mind of his own children?

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