A distraught family has paid tribute to an "amazing" young doctor who was murdered by her boyfriend.
Patrick "Pa" Hogan (27) was jailed for life yesterday after he admitted strangling newly-qualified doctor Karen Guinee (23) at a flat the couple shared.
Speaking outside the Four Courts after the sentence, her sister Laura Guinee said: "We got justice which we wanted."
She added: "Nothing will bring Karen back. It has been very tough for all of us. She would have made an amazing doctor. It's a great loss for the world."
Karen appeared to have been strangled and had suffered blows to the head when she was found at the flat in Father Griffin Avenue, Galway in June 2006.
Hogan had injured himself, and was rushed to hospital where he told staff that they would have known his doctor girlfriend.
In a victim impact statement, Michael Guinee, Karen's uncle and godfather, said she "was a victim of her own caring and loving nature" .
He said Karen's parents were so proud of having a doctor in the family and had been looking forward to attending her conferral on June 20, 2006. Instead they spent the day by her graveside.
She was one week away from her formal graduation when she was was murdered and would have started an internship at Galway University College Hospital the next month. Karen was also just one week from her 24th birthday.
Laura Guinee told the court she had been speaking to her sister the night before her death but she never imagined it would be their last conversation.
She said Karen was "my big sister, my inspiration, my best friend".
Defence solicitor Martin Giblin said that Hogan took full responsibility for Ms Guinee's death.
Mr Giblin added: "He would never ask for her family to forgive him because he cannot forgive himself."
Mr Justice Paul Carney handed down the mandatory life sentence.
Garda superintendent Tom Hurley told the Central Criminal Court that Hogan phoned his parents at around 6.30am on June 12, 2006. He told them that something terrible had happened and the downstairs door was locked. He asked his father to call gardai and ask them to break down the door.
Hogan's father and mother immediately headed over to the flat the couple shared, which was over the Hogan family pharmacy. Mrs Hogan had a spare key to the flat and let them in.
They went straight upstairs to the bedroom where they found Hogan and Karen lying on the bed apparently unconscious. Their arms were linked. Karen was cold to the touch but Hogan was still breathing.
Supt Hurley said a post mortem conducted by chief state pathologist Marie Cassidy confirmed that Ms Guinee had died from compression of the neck consistent with manual strangulation. She had also received blows to the side of her head using a blunt object identified as a hammer found at the scene.
Bruising to her mouth would have been consistent with a blow to the mouth or with someone forcibly covering the mouth with a hand.
Supt Hurley said that Hogan was brought to Galway University College Hospital where he received stitches for self inflicted slashes to his arms.
He told nurses at the hospital "I just killed my girlfriend." Referring to suicide he said: "It didn't work for me."
When one of the hospital staff told him they would sort things out, he replied: "I don't think this can be sorted out. I have killed my girlfriend. I think you know her. Her name was Karen."
Asked if his girlfriend was a doctor, he replied: "Not any more."
When he was charged with Ms Guinee's murder he told gardai: "I can't bring her back. I would if I could."
He did not tell gardai what had happened to lead to the murder, saying that he could not remember, but the garda investigation confirmed that the couple had spent the day before together.
Supt Hurley agreed with Mr Giblin that Hogan had been going out with Ms Guinee for approximately two years. Both families were very well respected, he added.