Wednesday 13 December 2017

'I think of what she went through,' Dad tells court as daughter's killer gets life

Natasha Reid

A COURT has heard the harrowing victim impact statement from a father whose daughter was strangled with her nightdress, and how he has "continuous nightmares of Diane calling me to help her."

John Burroughs Snr told the Central Criminal Court of his sorrow at not being able to protect his daughter from her murderer as he was sentenced to life imprisonment for strangling her.

The father of ten was giving a victim impact statements to the Central Criminal Court at the sentencing of 42-year-old Jason Daly, who strangled the mother-of-one with her nightdress and cut her neck with a glass.

Daly of PJ Delaney Flats, Main Street, Mountrath, Co Laois, but originally from Sandyford, murdered 29-year-old Diane Burroughs at her flat in the same building and then tried to make it look like a suicide.

Following a four-day-trial earlier this month, a jury unanimously found the father-of-two guilty of murdering the Athy native on April 16, 2011.

Daly admitted killing Ms Burroughs but pleaded not guilty to her murder and gave no reason for ending her life.

He told gardai that they had an ‘on/off’ relationship and that he went to her flat the night before she died, after spending the evening drinking alcohol.

He said that they ‘made love’ at some stage the next day, before he cut her with her drinking glass and squeezed her neck until she went blue.

He said that he tried to clean up the scene and make it look like a suicide by putting the broken glass he’d used to kill her into her hand. He locked her into her flat before going out to raise the alarm.

A post-mortem examination found that Ms Burroughs died of strangulation with wounds to her neck contributing to her death.

The victim’s older brother, John Burroughs, told the court yesterday that no words would bring his sister back.

He said that knowing how much she suffered brought feelings of shock, anger and despair.

“The trial has opened my eyes to the pain members of the human race can inflict on other members of society,” he said.

He testified that life had a whole new meaning for him now.

“Life can be taken away from you in a horrific manner,” he added.

He said that his sister would be greatly missed by all members of her family, but most of all by her 10-year-old daughter who she would ‘never see grow into a beautiful lady’.

“I feel sorry I was not there to protect my sister when she needed me,” he concluded. “I’m really sorry, Diane.”

Family Liaison Officer Sergeant Justine Reilly then read out a statement from the victim’s father about the loss of the seventh of his 10 children.

John Burroughs Snr said that Daly’s ‘brutal crime’ had affected his family’s daily functioning and that he had trouble sleeping.

“I have continuous nightmares of Diane calling me to help her,” he said, adding that he also had nightmares of following her and that this led to him sleep walking.

“My trust in people is no longer there,” he said. “I live in fear of a knock on the door like the one that came when Diane was murdered.”

“I think of what she went through,” he said.

“Mr Daly took Diane’s life,” he said. “She lays in the ground alone.”

Daly’s barrister, Paul Greene SC, said that he was instructed to apologise for his client’s actions and said that Daly’s remorse was genuine.

Daly nodded as Mr Justice Barry White said that the sentence prescribed by law was one of imprisonment for life.

He imposed the sentence, backdating it to the day of the murder when Daly was taken into custody.

Outside, Mr Burroughs Jnr said that justice had been done for his sister.

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