Thursday 22 March 2018

Families 'forever scarred' by loss

Sam Griffin

THE stepfather of murder victim Sarah Hines (21) told how he felt some responsiblity for his daughter's death after introducing her to her killer while they were at Horticultural College together.

Peter Rolfe also shouted "you dirty scab" at killer John Geary (34), from Meadow Court, Newcastle West in Co Limerick, after he was sentenced to four concurrent life sentences.

Mr Rolfe described the impact of the murders as "catastrophic" on the family and said he would struggle with the fact he had first introduced Geary to his "irreplaceable" Sarah in 2008.

"Words alone can't describe how we are feeling or how we are managing to function on a daily basis.

"Sarah was the only girl in the family so she was irreplaceable and the glue that held the family together. The deaths have left me scarred and I carry guilt for introducing Sarah to John.

"The loneliness and sadness I feel is enormous and can never be repaired," he said.

A separate statement read by Sarah's godmother Lou O'Rourke, on behalf of Sarah's mother Aveena, said there was "a huge void in our lives without Sarah. We lost the heart of the family."

"The thought of Sarah's brothers ever having to cross his path again is horrifying," she said.

But the most tense moment came when the godfather of murdered Reece read out a statement by Sarah's brother, Christopher. Directly staring at the accused, who did not break eye contact, he said the family had been completely destroyed by Geary's "evil and cowardly crime".

Alicia's mother Maria Dempsey, who was pregnant at the time of the murders, explained how she had suffered from depression and anxiety since her daughter's death and was seeing a psychotherapist.

"Alicia is missed deeply by us all – her parents and siblings and her extended family and friends."

Irish Independent

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