Wednesday 12 December 2018

'Irene White's killer was put to do this by others... we now want to see them in court'

Anne Delcassian 'absolutely delighted' with sentence - but now wants to see others brought to justice

Anne Delcassian, sister of Irene White, pictured outside the court. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Anne Delcassian, sister of Irene White, pictured outside the court. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Anne Delcassian, sister of Irene White, pictured outside the court. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Anne Delcassian, sister of Irene White, pictured outside the court. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The sister of a woman who was brutally murdered in her kitchen in 2005 said she is now hoping to see the other people involved brought before the courts.

Speaking outside the Central Criminal Court today after Anthony Lambe (35) was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Irene White, Anne Delcassian said justice "was a long time coming".

Along with her solicitor, Gavin Booth of KRW Law Belfast, said Anthony Lambe admitted he was "put to do this by others."

"We want to see those other people brought before the courts," Mr Booth said.

"We believe he is cooperating, we would welcome further cooperation.

"We want the others to be brought before the courts.

"There are others out there and they should now come forward."

Irene's sister Anne said she is "absolutely delighted" with the sentence.

"It's been a long time coming but the murderer of my sister has got life today and I'm absolutely delighted," she said in a victim impact statement read outside the court.

"My sister Irene was murdered 6th April 2005.

Anne Delcassian, sister of Irene White, pictured outside the court. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Anne Delcassian, sister of Irene White, pictured outside the court. Picture; Gerry Mooney

"She was home alone on that day.

"She had just returned from bringing her kids to school and that was the last time her children got an opportunity to see their mother.

Anne Delcassian, sister of Irene White, pictured outside the court. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Anne Delcassian, sister of Irene White, pictured outside the court. Picture; Gerry Mooney

"Irene was my only sister, she was 43, my youngest, only sister.

"That morning when she returned home she was going about her life, doing normal things, washing the dishes, being a normal housewife. "My mother Maureen lived in a mobile home behind her and on that morning she came down as she always did for her boiled egg as Irene did religiously for her and they'd have a chat and a lovely time together."

Anne described her sister's murder as a "horrible, horrible death".

"Why did Anthony Lambe go into that house on that day, why did he kill my sister Irene, what was his motive?" she asked.

"It is known, and it is still known, to be the most savage murder against a female in the history of the Irish state.

"He stabbed her over 30 times.

"This was a callous act, he had no thought for Irene or her family."

Anne described the moment her mother came into the house and found her "beautiful, beautiful" sister on the floor.

"Her throat had been cut along with many other savage injuries," she continued.

"She suffered over 30 stab wounds.

"For me, Anthony Lambe deserves the punishment that lovely judge gave him today, life in prison.

"I hope life means life, that he doesn't get any time to not serve life.

"I've been traumatised and suffered with my health.

"Anthony lived his life since 2005 until his arrest."

Anne said she wants people to know it is "very important to realise that you can't take someone's life in this country."

"It is against the law to kill someone and against humanity to take someone's life.

"Irene was a beautiful girl and I loved her dearly."

Anne said she is now hoping that the family can move on with their lives.

"He can cry and weep in that dock, but that's not remorse," she added.

Evidence

The court heard today that Lambe was asked by an individual on behalf of another person to kill Mrs White, and at the time he killed her he was on a "cocktail of drink, ecstasy and cocaine".

Mrs White's body was found by her mother Maureen McBride, who never recovered from seeing her daughter lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood. She died six months later of a broken heart, the court heard.

When interviewed by detectives, Lambe broke down in tears a number of times, and he told them he had "committed so evil and vile an act that would haunt him until the day he died".

His drinking and drug taking went out of control in the year after the murder, and he had nightmares about what he had done.

In her victim impact statement, Mrs White's daughter Jennifer said her mother was "great fun", "the life and soul of the party" and had an "infectious laugh".

She said that she and her two siblings missed their mother just as much today as when she was killed 13 years ago.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed a mandatory life sentence.

The defendant, with an address at Annadrumman, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, admitted before the Central Criminal Court this morning to the murder of Irene White (43).

The killing took place in the kitchen of Ice House, Demesne Road, Dundalk, Co Louth on April 6, 2005.

Detective Inspector Pat Marry told Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, that Mrs White received 34 stab wounds in total, 15 to the front of the body and 14 to the back.

The murder was originally investigated by gardai in Dundalk, but the case went cold.

The killing was then reviewed by the Cold Case Review Team in 2011, which suggested 300 lines of enquiry.

A number of appeals were made on RTE's Crimecall and gardai received two anonymous calls from a woman in Australia, who told them that Lambe had admitted to her that he'd killed Mrs White.

The case was returned to gardai in Dundalk in 2016, who identified this woman, and two detectives later went out to Australia and interviewed her.

Lambe was subsequently arrested by gardai and Insp Marry said he confessed almost immediately to killing Mrs White.

Insp Marry said Lambe admitted stabbing Mrs White in the chest, and he then "panicked" and went "into a frenzy", cutting her throat. He ran out of the house, across the yard and over a wall into a nearby park.

He told gardai he said a prayer over Mrs White's body when he realised what he had done.

Insp Marry agreed with Jonathan Kilfeather SC, for Lambe, that the defendant was from a decent family, who had suffered genuine anguish and distress over what he had done.

Mr Kilfeather said Lambe was "in the throes" of an addiction at the time of the murder, was in a "very bad place" and was "subject to being manipulated".

The court heard that Lambe "tried to back out but he felt he couldn't do so".

He had tried to take his own life on two occasions on account of what he had done.

Lambe had shown "genuine remorse", the court heard, and had "cried for six hours" after he watched a Crimecall reconstruction of the murder.

He told gardai, during interview, that "a teenage girl went to school that morning and she came back to no mammy".

He had since gone to college, and was studying for a doctorate in history at the time of his arrest.

Jennifer White, Irene's daughter, told the court that thoughts of her gentle mother dying in a pool of her own blood would haunt and torture her forever.

She was 17 when her mother was killed, her brother was six and her sister only four.

Ms White said their world was turned upside down following their mother's death, and their mother was "stolen" from them.

Her mother had brought her and her siblings to school on the morning of her death. She said she did not realise that her goodbye as she got out of the car would be the last time she'd ever speak to her mother.

Ms White also said she believed her nanny died of a broken heart as she was unable to comes to terms with seeing her daughter lying dead on the kitchen floor.

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