Sunday 25 August 2019

Mother of Alicia (20) murdered in vicious attack calls for stronger sentencing for men who kill women

Abina Ring with photos of (left to right) Reece, Sarah and Amy. Photo: Limerick Voice
Abina Ring with photos of (left to right) Reece, Sarah and Amy. Photo: Limerick Voice
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

The bereaved mother of a young woman murdered while trying to stop her friend's ex-partner during a vicious attack has called for stronger sentencing for men who kill women.

Maria Dempsey's daughter, Alicia Brough (20), was murdered in Newcastle West, Co Limerick, in November 2010.

Ms Brough was stabbed a number of times as she tried to stop murderer John Geary (38) from knifing her friend, Sarah Hines, his ex-partner. 

In July 2013, Geary was given four life sentences for killing Ms Brough, Ms Hines, their five-month old daughter Amy and Ms Hines's three-year-old son Reece. 

Ms Dempsey now works with Sentencing and Victim Equality (SAVE), which campaigners for minimum sentencing before parole for perpetrators and for counselling for the family of victims.

"At the time it was four people murdered in one house. Alicia was just staying with Sarah as a friend, Sarah had split in her relationship and she was just there as comfort and a bit of support. 

"They felt safe together," she said.

"I'm a great believer that homicide reviews are going to do a service to society as a whole.

"I want to advocate for counselling, along with SAVE, and sentencing. Sentencing isn't good enough," she said. 

Ms Dempsey said the four life sentences, to run concurrently for Geary were of no consolation. 

"None at all," she said. "Four lives. I'm a great believer in saying you're not coming out for 45 years. But they don't say that. He could be out, he's coming up for a review, his parole already," she said.

"We're only four years on and people think that the grief happens when you lose your child, and it doesn’t - because you are in frozen mode of surviving.

"You don't start the grieving process until the justice system is sorted. People think after four years you should be recovering. But how can you?"

"It's not just the sentencing, to me justice is that this doesn’t happen again to another family. That's the justice that I seek from these deaths," she said.

"There aren't actually any reviews done on the effects it has on the family. How many suicides? Who knows. How many are addicted to alcohol? Who knows. How many people just don't live anymore? Nobody knows," she said. 

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