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Sunday 17 December 2017

'Reece was stabbed and I just heard him screaming. Then the phone went dead ...'

'My heart, my heart' - girlfriend of murder victim Reece (16) tells of agonising final phonecall

Reece Cullen and girlfriend Sophie Evans(17)
Reece Cullen and girlfriend Sophie Evans(17)
Sophie Evans (17), girlfriend of Reece Cullen who was stabbed to death
Sophie Evans (17), pictured right, with her Cousin Chelsea O’Brien (17) holding pictures of murder victim Reece Cullen
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Murder victim Reece Cullen was on the phone arranging to meet his girlfriend when he was stabbed in the chest and left to die.

Sophie Evans (17) has spoken of her love for Reece and described in harrowing detail how they were speaking when he was attacked at a house in Jobstown on Thursday afternoon.

Sophie Evans (17), girlfriend of Reece Cullen who was stabbed to death
Sophie Evans (17), girlfriend of Reece Cullen who was stabbed to death

Reece (16) was found by a neighbour bleeding heavily shortly after 3pm but despite desperate efforts to save him he was pronounced dead at Tallaght Hospital.

"He was stabbed and I just heard him screaming. Then the phone went off," Sophie told the Irish Independent.

"He was just saying he was walking out the front door to come around. That's when he was struck.

"He said 'I'm on the way down to you baby,' then I heard him screaming, saying 'My heart, my heart'.

Reece Cullen
Reece Cullen
Gardai on duty outside the house in Kilclare Crescent, Jobstown where 17 year old Reece Cullen was stabbed to death. Photo: Tony Gavin

"Then that was it," she said.

A post-mortem examination has determined that Reece suffered one stab wound to the heart when he was attacked at the home in Kilclare Crescent, in Jobstown, west Dublin.

It is not the first tragedy to strike the family after Reece's mother Ann Marie Cullen died tragically last September.

A 14-year-old boy was questioned in connection with Reece's death last night at Tallaght garda station. He has since been released without charge. A file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The murder weapon has not yet been recovered by gardaí.

Speaking from her home alongside her mum Julie, Sophie fought back tears as she bravely spoke about the love of her life.

She told how she had heard no argument on the other side of the phone and that Reece had been attacked unexpectedly.

Reece's friends called her soon after and told her to get to the hospital immediately.

"It was horrible, I'd never ever wish that feeling on my worst enemy," she said.

Her mother said she drove to the hospital, but doesn't even remember the journey.

"I can't even remember how I drove to the hospital," Ms Evans said.

"Then the lads just all came out with their heads shaking," she said.

Sophie smiled as she recounted details of their relationship and recalled Reece's love of motorbikes and boxing.

"He loved his boxing, he wouldn't have been a fan of football or anything like that, but he loved his bikes and his boxing. He was very talented."

The couple had been friends for most of their lives, but began going out around 18 months ago.

"He was such a loving caring fella, he kept to himself. He was loved by everyone, nobody had a bad word to say about him," Sophie said.

Sophie said Reece had been doing well after going through a difficult patch when his mother passed away. He had recently enrolled in the Youthreach programme.

"He lost his mother, he sort of went down hill after that, but he was slowly picking himself back up," she said.

She described how they had spent Christmas together and Reece was in great form.

"Christmas, my birthday and New Year, he was great.

"He was slowly coming back around to himself," she said.

Gardaí believe the murder may have been linked to a dispute between two groups of local teenagers. Sources said officers are also investigating if at least one other teenager was present when Reece was stabbed.

Irish Independent

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