Wednesday 22 August 2018

'Three years old, to see what’s coming, to see your mum dead' - families affected by domestic violence speak out in Emma Murphy Fights Back documentary

Emma Murphy Fights Back airs on RTE2 on Thursday May 31 at 9.30pm

Emma Murphy Fights Back 1 - L- R Maria Dempsey and Emma Murphy
Emma Murphy Fights Back 1 - L- R Maria Dempsey and Emma Murphy
Emma Murphy Fights Back, RTE 2, Thursday May 31, 9.30pm
Emma Murphy who was a victim of domestic violence pictured on the stairs in her home where she delcared to the world via a video on social media that she was getting abused. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Kyle Ewald

A brave Dublin mother of two whose domestic violence video shocked the nation is helping tell the story of other victims of abuse in a new RTE documentary this week.

Emma Murphy, who went viral three years ago after posting a video message after being punched in the face by her then-partner, hopes to help others in her situation.

Emma Murphy in the video she posted online.
Emma Murphy in the video she posted online.

Emma speaks to the mother of Alicia Brough, who was only 20 when she was stabbed to death alongside her friend, Sarah Hines, 25, and Sarah’s two children, three-year-old Reece and five-month-old Amy.

All four were killed in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick by Sarah’s ex-boyfriend John Geary, now 42.

Mum Sarah Hines was brutally killed by her ex-partner John Geary who then turned on his five-month-old daughter Amy. Photo: Press 22
Mum Sarah Hines was brutally killed by her ex-partner John Geary who then turned on his five-month-old daughter Amy. Photo: Press 22

In the new documentary, Maria Dempsey, Alicia’s mother, shares the details of her daughter’s final moments with Emma.

Maria explains how investigators told her that three-year-old Reece was likely the last to be killed: “That’s what I think about all the time. Three years old, to see what’s coming, to see your mum dead.”

When Sarah’s friend Alicia Brough returned to the house, Geary killed Alicia and three-year-old Reece. Photo: Steve Humphreys
When Sarah’s friend Alicia Brough returned to the house, Geary killed Alicia and three-year-old Reece. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Sarah had been separated from Geary at the time of the assault, but he was still a constant presence in her life because he was the father of baby Amy.

Maria says when Sarah moved her family, Geary was close to follow: “Sarah had moved into Newcastle West. John moved into Newcastle West just four days after. He was knocking on her door, pressuring her.”

Three-year-old Reece, pictured as a baby. Photo: Press 22
Three-year-old Reece, pictured as a baby. Photo: Press 22

Alicia had been visiting Sarah at the time of the assault, following a recent completion of a psychology course in Britain.

Maria said Sarah “was happy to have Alicia around, she needed a friend” and that Alicia “wasn’t afraid to speak back” when Geary was aggressive.

John Geary
John Geary

The murders took place on November 15, 2010 after Alicia had returned from a quick run to the shop with Reece.

“When Alicia walked in, Geary sat there with Amy in his arms. Apparently Ali tried to take her off him but the guards said Amy was already dead at that point. She couldn’t have known.

“Then Geary attacked Alicia, and little Reece was practically last. He saw everything.”

Maria also speaks to Emma about the devastating moment she found out about the tragic deaths while listening to Limerick FM: “The news came on and I can remember the tone, the jingle they have. They said four bodies had been found. I knew then.”

Geary fled the scene of the murders and travelled by bus to Kilkee, Co, Clare and spent the night in a guest house. He was caught by gardaí the following day and received four life sentences for the killings in 2013.

Emma spent two years producing and starring in the new documentary, and said she hopes it encourages women to take a stand against domestic abuse and get out of violent relationships.

Francis Usanga leaves Dublin District Court where he was given 100 hours of community service for the assault on Emma Murphy. Photos: Collins Courts
Francis Usanga leaves Dublin District Court where he was given 100 hours of community service for the assault on Emma Murphy. Photos: Collins Courts

The video she posted sharing her terrifying experience of being attacked by her then-partner reached over 10 million views. In past statements, she has said she has “absolutely no regrets” about posting the video, as she hopes it will inspire other women to leave their abusers.

Emma’s abuser, former TV fitness coach Francis Usanga was found guilty of assault causing harm. Last year, he was sentenced to 100 hours of community service to avoid a five-month prison sentence.

The documentary “Emma Murphy Fights Back” will air on RTE2 this Thursday, May 31 at 9.30pm.

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