News Irish News

Thursday 22 February 2018

Mum's last desperate bid to flee frenzied knife killer

Amy and her brother Reece
Amy and her brother Reece
Geary's his ex-partner Sarah Hines
Alicia Brough, a friend of Sarah Hines
John Geary

Barry Duggan, Sam Griffin and Natasha Reid

A TERRIFIED mother made a last-ditch bid to escape the frenzied killer who stabbed her children and her friend to death.

Shocking new details emerged last night of the horrific killings of two women and two young children as killer John Geary began life in jail.

Geary (37) flew into a jealous rage with his ex-partner and inflicted almost 60 stab wounds on his helpless victims before travelling to a tourist town for a pint.

He knifed his ex-partner Sarah Hines and their five-month-old daughter to death because she had left him.

He stabbed the other woman, Alicia Brough, and Ms Hines's three-year-old son to death because they had arrived at the scene and caught him.

Last night it emerged that Alicia walked in to see Sarah crawling on her hands and knees into the sitting room, trying to get away from Geary.

But Geary continued his stabbing frenzy – using five different weapons and breaking a knife with the force of the assault – until there were four bodies at the house in Hazelgrove, Newcastle West, Co Limerick, on November 15, 2010.

Geary, of Meadow Court, Newcastle West, Co Limerick then drank a glass of milk and changed his clothes before walking home.

However, he realised that he'd left his key in Hazelgrove and returned for it before locking the house.

Geary then travelled by bus to Kilkee where he checked into a guesthouse and had a drink at the bar. He had a full breakfast the following morning, before going to two pubs. He was arrested that afternoon.


Yesterday the families of the victims finally received some closure as the killer was sentenced to four life sentences, to run concurrently, by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

Geary had pleaded guilty to murdering his ex-partner Sarah Hines (25), their five-month-old daughter Amy, her three-year-old brother Reece and 20-year-old Alicia Brough at a house in Hazelgrove, Newcastle West on November 15, 2010.

Sarah's stepfather Peter Rolfe told how he felt some responsibility for his daughter's death after introducing her to her killer while they were at Horticultural College together.

"She was our family's only girl. Reece and Amy were our only grandchildren. I picture her (Sarah) trying to protect her baby," he said.

Her mother Aveena suffered a heart attack shortly after learning of the extent of her daughter's injuries and would now "be on medication for the rest of my life".

Alicia's mother, Maria Dempsey, and her partner Paul Dempsey said they were thankful that this episode of our lives was finally over.

"We were deeply disturbed that it took John Geary so long to put an end to the torment of waiting for some answers."

Mrs Dempsey said they received their daughter's ashes on her 21st birthday.

She said that she was pregnant when her daughter died and that what should have been a joyous time was instead a time of grief.

It emerged that Geary attacked the women and children with up to five weapons including knives and a screwdriver.

Geary had arrived at the house on the day of the murders, and found Sarah and Amy Hines at home.

Detective Inspector Eamon O'Neill told the Central Criminal Court the accused had attacked mother and baby with a knife with exceptional violence "to say the least".

He inflicted 21 wounds on his ex-partner's face, neck and chest.

Geary inflicted nine knife wounds on his baby daughter.

Det Insp O'Neill said a pathologist found that Sarah had struggled to defend herself, but would have collapsed once she sustained knife wounds to her heart and lungs.

"It would be our belief that Alicia Brough walked in on the attack," said Det Insp O'Neill.

He explained that Ms Brough then sustained 14 to 16 wounds to various parts of her body.

Geary also used a screwdriver to kill Reece, who was not related to him. He inflicted 15 wounds on the boy. His death would have been rapid, if not instant.

Det Insp O'Neill said that Geary met Sarah Hines in 2008 and that they'd had an on-off relationship until she became pregnant with Amy in 2009. They had become close again after the birth, but split again soon afterwards.

"It's our belief that Mr Geary was driven out of jealousy and control," he said. "As far as she was concerned, they had split. He wasn't accepting that."

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News