Saturday 22 September 2018

Student who stabbed mum-of-three to death in her kitchen 'said a prayer afterwards' - court hears

  • Mum-of-three Irene White stabbed to death in house where she lived with her family
  • Irene's mother discovered her in the kitchen on April 6, 2005
  • Student Anthony Lambe (34) pleaded guilty to murder this morning in court
  • Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed a mandatory life sentence on Lambe
  • 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"
  • Lambe was studying for a doctorate in history at the time of his arrest
Anthony Lambe (left) pictured being lead to a special sitting of court in Dundalk, victim Irene White pictured on the right. Picture Ciara Wilkinson.
Anthony Lambe (left) pictured being lead to a special sitting of court in Dundalk, victim Irene White pictured on the right. Picture Ciara Wilkinson.
Irene White's children pictured outside the court after the trial concluded. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Alan White, former husband of Irene White pictured outside the court after the trial concluded. Picture; Gerry Mooney

A STUDENT who stabbed a mother of three to death nearly 13 years ago said a prayer over her body when he realised what he had done, a court has heard.

Anthony Lambe (35) "went into a frenzy" and stabbed Irene White 34 times, leaving her to die on her kitchen floor.

The Central Criminal Court heard 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.

Irene White's children pictured outside the court after the trial concluded. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Irene White's children pictured outside the court after the trial concluded. Picture: Gerry Mooney

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).

Alan White, former husband of Irene White pictured outside the court after the trial concluded. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Alan White, former husband of Irene White pictured outside the court after the trial concluded. Picture; Gerry Mooney

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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