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LISA DOYLE WAS YOUNG, BEAUTIFUL AND HAPPY. AS HER 32-YEAR-OLD KILLER BEGINS A LIFE SENTENCE, THE COUNTY TRIES TO MAKE SENSE OF WHY SHE WAS MURDERED FOR...

ELIZABETH LEE

Published 12/10/2010 | 09:05

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32-year-old Ger O'Hara who was jailed for life for murdering his fianceé Lisa Doyle on September 20, 2009.

GERARD 'GER' O'HARA, a thirty-two-year old man from Fenagh, was last week handed down a life sentence after he pleaded guilty to murdering his fiancée, Lisa Doyle.

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O'Hara admitted to strangling Lisa (24) to death in the home that they shared in Leighlinbridge on September 20 last year.

The court heard that when he turned himself in at Carlow Garda Station, O'Hara was clutching a letter that said he could never explain why he'd done what he did to his fiancée and that 'she deserved better' than him.

Lisa Doyle's heartbroken family have vowed to keep a dignified silence and have refused to discuss O'Hara or his actions. Instead the Doyle family have pledged to keep Lisa's memory alive.

'We're concentrating on Lisa's life and what she gave up. We think about how much we adored her and that's what's kept us strong,' said Lisa's sister, Angela. GERARD ' GER' O'HARA, a thirty-two year old man from Fenagh, was last Tuesday sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his fiancée, Lisa Doyle, (24) after admitting strangling her with his shoelace. O'Hara told Gardaí that as he was strangling her, she didn't call out but whispered his name instead.

O'Hara, who'd been with Lisa for more than four years, also admitted to attempting to strangle another woman about five years ago during a onenight stand. He said that after a struggle, the woman escaped. The Central Criminal Court in Dublin also heard that O'Hara had ' urges' to strangle people about twice a year but that he couldn't explain why he murdered Lisa.

He strangled Lisa at the couple's rented home in Leighlinbridge on September 20 last year, sending shock waves across County Carlow.

Lisa was well known in her home town of Bagenalstown and in Carlow where she worked in Argos. She also came to the public's attention when she entered the Rose of Tralee competition and was known for her love of life.

Unemployed O'Hara presented himself to Carlow Garda Station shortly after he strangled the beautiful Bagenalstown girl, in an agitated state and pulling his hair out.

'I have done a terrible thing to Lisa,' he told Gardaí, according to local detective Brendan Murphy.

Detective Murphy, who was one of the key investigators in the case, attended last week's sentencing along with Superintendent Gerry Redmond.

The court heard that when he presented himself to Carlow Garda Station, O'Hara was clutching a letter that said he could never explain why he'd done what he did to his fiancée and that ' she deserved better' than him.

At his own request, O'Hara was placed in a cell, Detective Murphy said, and then removed his shoes. He then told the Gardaí that he'd used one of the shoelaces to strangle Lisa.

The couple, who planned to get married this summer, had been out socialising in the village of Leighlinbridge on the night of the murder. Eye witnesses said that they were in good form with CCTV coverage even showing them holding hands as they left the local pub.

O'Hara told Gardaí that later that night as they lay in bed together, Lisa had her back to him and that he strangled her by tightening his arm around her neck. He said that she didn't cry out but merely whispered his name before she died.

Gardaí were also told by him that he then removed a shoe lace from his shoe and strangled her again with it. He dressed her and left her body in their bed, where it was discovered by Gardaí later that morning.

Prosecutor Aileen Donnelly SC told the court that Lisa had died from asphyxiation due to the mechanical compression of her neck.

The sentence hearing was attended by members of Lisa's family and during it, a victim impact statement by Lisa's sister, Angela, was read out.

The statement described how much the family loved her and what a nightmare it was for them since her death.

'A poet, an athlete and a blessing' was how Angela described her beloved sister.

A statement was also read out on behalf of O'Hara in which he said that he regretted the heartbreak he caused the Doyle family.

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