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Murdered priest's family don't want killers executed

THE family of a priest brutally murdered in Africa have reiterated their opposition to the execution of his killers.

Fr Jeremiah (Jerry) Roche (68) was discovered beaten and stabbed to death in December 2009 at his home in Kenya following a violent robbery.

Last month three men were sentenced to death after being convicted of committing robbery with violence. However, with the last capital punishment actually carried out in the country in 1987, many believe the men will simply remain in prison.

Fr Roche's family -- who previously came out against the severity of the sentence -- said that it would not have been in line with Fr Roche's beliefs.

"He would have no time for violent retribution," his niece Anne Cunningham said from Athea, Co Limerick, Fr Roche's home town.

"If there was a definite date then we would probably become more vocal on it," she said.

The 68-year-old priest had been in the country for over 40 years when he was attacked.

His family were speaking out following a written appeal from Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell to the Kenyan authorities, asking for leniency.

Irish Independent