Saturday 21 September 2019

'To think of her being met with brutality is beyond heartbreaking'

Nicola’s father Michael and sister Carly speaking to the media after the verdict yesterday. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts
Nicola’s father Michael and sister Carly speaking to the media after the verdict yesterday. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts

Ralph Riegel

The family of Nicola Collins fought back tears as they said killer Cathal O'Sullivan didn't just take the life of the mother of three, but had tried to vilify her good character as well.

In a moving victim impact statement, Nicola's sister Carly told the hushed murder trial courtroom that her sister was nothing like the person that had been portrayed.

O'Sullivan insisted his girlfriend sustained 125 different injuries entirely by accident - and most because of incidents sparked by her drinking.

He also claimed the Tralee-born woman had alcohol problems, anxiety issues, self-harm tendencies and mental health problems.

But in a poignant tribute, Carly said Nicola was nothing like the person depicted. "My sister was born a tiny baby at just three pounds 12 ounces. She was destined to be resilient and confronted many tough times in life.

"Nic was vulnerable. Her on-off struggles with alcohol were an emotional rollercoaster, the downside of which left her feeling alone at times," she said.

"These issues however did not define her - did not change the fact that she was a vivacious, fun person who was clearly loved. It did not mean that she was undeserving of dignity and respect. Nic struggled with very low self-esteem - to think of her, a person so in need of love and kindness, being met with cold-hearted brutality is beyond heartbreaking.

"It has been terribly distressing to hear of the devastating injuries she sustained. The thought of the pain she must have suffered and the unimaginable terror she surely felt in her final hours will forever haunt us.

"We have been subjected to vilification of Nic's character in an attempt to explain what happened on the night of March 26.

"She was not the person portrayed in court. This has added to the hurt and pain we already felt. The vile allegations heard in recent days have left us feeling disturbed and embittered."

Irish Independent

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