Sunday 17 November 2019

'He was determined to kill someone' - Cousin of elderly Blaine brothers condemns murderer

Alan Cawley and in inset Tom and Jack Blaine. Photo: Keith Heneghan
Alan Cawley and in inset Tom and Jack Blaine. Photo: Keith Heneghan
Alan Cawley arrives at Swinford District Court in July 2013. Photo: Keith Heneghan

Cillian Sherlock and Natasha Reid

The cousin of murdered Jack and Tommy Blaine has said he felt their murderer was determined to kill someone.

Alan Cawley (30) had been released from Castlerea Prison just four days before he killed Thomas (69) and Jack Blaine (76) in their Castlebar, Co Mayo, home.

Cawley bludgeoned the brothers, who both had special needs, with a shovel and one of their walking sticks in an attack the trial heard described as "overkill".

“He had it in his head to kill someone. He is a nasty, evil person. He was going around killing animals and boiling frogs,” Mr Dunne told RTÉ Radio One.

Mr Dunne described his cousins as "angels" who never wanted any special comforts.

“They were two gentlemen. They were simple, humble men who never had an argument, never hit anybody or said a bad word about anybody,” he added.

Mr Dunne was called to the scene of the murder where he encountered the woman who provided home help to the brothers and discovered their bodies.

“She was very hysterical. The horrors she has seen will never get out of her head,” he said.

Mr Dunne said he did not become aware of the extent of the violence or their injuries until he saw their bodies in the mortuary.

He raised questions about whether Cawley expressed remorse for his actions during the trial.

“I didn’t see any remorse in him and he never looked anyone in the face,” Mr Dunne said.

He expressed sympathies for Cawley’s parents.

“They’re feeling what I’m feeling but in an opposite direction. They had to get barring orders. The mother and father said they wanted nothing to do with him,” he said.

Mr Dunne said both the brothers were religions and are now buried with their mother in Castlebar cemetery.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey handed down the mandatory life sentence to Cawley.

"The killings were as wanton as they were savage and I can only express my sympathy to the family of Jack and Tommy Blaine," he said.

DEuring the trial the court heard that CCTV footage captured Cawley walking through the town and crossing paths with Jack Blaine around midnight.

Mr Blaine had crossed the road to Rocky's Bar with his empty tea mug in his hand. As was the norm, the barman then made him a cup of tea and carried it across the street, leaving it on his windowsill.

The footage showed Cawley entering the Blaine home with Jack Blaine following behind him.

Cawley told gardaí that he had spent about 20 minutes upstairs searching for prescription drugs. He said he came downstairs and Jack Blaine was standing there. He picked up a shovel and beat him with it.

Cawley said he then made his way to the front door, but saw Thomas Blaine in a room at the front of the house. He said he thought that, as they were living together, maybe they were child molesters. He beat Thomas with a stick about 25 times. Cawley then poured boiling water over his helpless victim.

He left the house just over an hour after entering, putting on sunglasses before he walked back to his B&B.

The Blaine brothers' home help arrived at their house at 7.15am and discovered the two men, who had suffered horrendous injuries.

The jurors remained in the jury box while the deceased men's first cousin Mr Dunne delivered the victim impact statement.

He said both men had kept to themselves, looked after each other and seemed happy and safe in Castlebar. He described them as "two honest gentlemen", who had worked hard in both Ireland and England.

He said that Jack Blaine had a speech impediment and was partially blind, but neither ever wanted a fuss. Mr Dunne spoke about how much they were missed. "Not seeing Tommy sitting in his chair smiling is a terrible loss," he said.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey then handed down the mandatory life sentence. "The killings were as wanton as they were savage and I can only express my sympathy to the family of Jack and Tommy Blaine," he said.

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