Monday 22 October 2018

'Only in death has Anna found peace away from that evil man' - sister of woman killed by partner

Domestic violence fuelled Anna Finnegan’s murder by her partner, hears Laura Lynott

Lisa Finnegan and inset her sister Anna and Vesel Jahiri, who has been jailed for life
Lisa Finnegan and inset her sister Anna and Vesel Jahiri, who has been jailed for life
Lisa Finnegan with a portrait of her sister, Anna. Picture; Gerry Mooney
Anna Finnegan (second from left) with her siblings Myles, Lisa and Karl Finnegan

Laura Lynott

The sister of a woman murdered after years enduring the "hell" of domestic violence has urged other victims to "listen to yourself and leave before it's too late".

Anna Finnegan was just 25 when she was killed by the father of her two children, Vesel Jahiri (35).

The Kosovan was sentenced for life in May last year for the 2012 killing that robbed two children of their mother.

Anna met Jahiri, a Kosovan refugee, when she was 15 and he was working at a fast-food outlet in Blanchardstown, Dublin, where she chatted to the 25-year old as she and her friends ordered chips.

The very last photo taken of Anna
The very last photo taken of Anna

Not long after they'd met, Anna's father, Billy (69) passed away of a heart attack. He'd been the main influence in her life and had warned her off Jahiri. Six years later Anna's mother Maria died aged 61.

Jahiri managed to cut Anna off from most of her family and friends, isolating her, to maximise his power over her, according to her sister Lisa Finnegan.

Lisa said she found out "by accident" her sister was suffering when Jahiri rang her just months before the murder, spouting insults. He'd begun to use the family as pawns to control Anna, threatening their safety.

"I called Anna and told her the horrible language he'd used on the phone to me and I asked what was going on," Lisa said.

Vesel Jahiri
Vesel Jahiri

"Anna admitted he was hitting her. I couldn't believe it. Slowly in the next few days she revealed more and more and I told her that she had to leave him. She was beginning that process but I know the animal was never going to let her go. He was obsessed."

When their father Billy died, Jahiri tried to step into the gap. "Dad was the one who Anna listened to and when he was gone it was a case of Jahiri saying 'Your dad's gone, so lean on me,' and it got to the point he made sure she needed him," Lisa said. "By the time he'd got his clutches into Anna, mam was ill too. Dad was only dead four weeks the first time Jahiri hit Anna - and she was only a child."

He began abusing his partner mentally and physically, behind closed doors and had cut her off.

"I only found out Anna was suffering abuse three months before he murdered her," Lisa revealed. "He'd been able to pull her away for so long, that we just didn't get to see what was going on up close.

"We never saw them in the same room together.

"He'd call her names, tell her she was ugly when she was anything but ugly.

"He never brought her out anywhere for her birthday, never got her a present for her birthday or Christmas. He used to pull up outside a shop and get her to go in and get herself a card and flowers.

"The day she went to give birth to her son, he never said goodbye to her. She said, 'See you, then,' and he never responded. I asked 'Why do you put up with that?'

"She didn't say anything. And I could see he was starting to hate me.

"When his daughter was born he came in to see her for a moment. But he left the hospital straight after he saw her."

Anna had signed herself into a women's refuge a month before her murder in an attempt to restart her life but Jahiri wasn't going to let her go. In September 2012, he kicked down the door at the house in Clonsilla, Dublin, where Anna had been living with her brother Karl, knifed Karl and then fatally stabbed Anna. As she lay dying in Connolly Hospital, the mother-of-two identified Jahiri as her killer, saying: "He did it."

Jahiri pleaded not guilty to murder and not guilty to assaulting Karl. But the jury found him guilty on both counts after he exploded in the Central Criminal Court, assaulting the prosecuting barrister.

"Anna is dead because of that animal," Lisa said.

"I asked her why did she stay the night before she was murdered and she said there were so many reasons, the shame, the guilt, feeling stupid, that people would talk about her, the fear of telling her family. All that had overwhelmed her, when in reality, no one would have judged her at all. Everyone would have been there to support her but he'd got inside her head.

"Only in death has Anna found peace away from that evil man, that psychopath."

Now her children call their mother 'Angel Anna' and wonder where she is.

"Anna adored her two kids, she was an amazing mum," said Lisa. "When her children were born, she told me she'd literally fallen in love. The kids brought her so much happiness.

"Anna's son and daughter are gorgeous, amazing and they look just like her."

Lisa said she would like other women who are suffering to trust their instincts and learn from Anna's death.

"I wish I'd known more, to have been able to speak up more when Anna had told me she was engaged and when she was pregnant the first time.

"I want to be an advocate for other women, to tell them that the very first alarm bells that ring, they're your warning to leave. That moment when you think 'he shouldn't have said that, or he shouldn't have hurt me,' that's the time you go. Anna's children are a reminder of the innocents left behind. Look at what happened to Anna and never stay. Listen to yourself and leave before it's too late," she said.

Anyone who has been affected by domestic violence, contact Women's Aid on 1800 341 900.

Irish Independent

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