'We can't forgive car-boot killer', says victim's family
THE family of a woman who was killed by her partner and dumped in the boot of a car have said they will never forgive her killer.
They were speaking after Bernard 'Ben' Curran (53) was jailed for seven years at the Central Criminal Court, Dublin, for the manslaughter in May 2010 of Helen Donegan (30), a heroin addict he had been going out with for almost a decade.
However, he only admitted to killing the mother-of-one when her body was found seven weeks after he shot her.
"We'll never forgive him for degrading Helen even after death," said Caroline O'Connor, Helen's aunt. "We let ourselves be convinced by him, he was part of our family for 10 years."
Helen's mother, Liz Noonan, who is caring for Helen's only son, said the teenager hated the man who he once saw as a father figure.
"She's was a kind, thoughtful and loving person and she idolised her son," Ms Noonan told the Irish Independent.
"He was her world and she was trying to get clean for him. She was doing her best to get off drugs at the time."
Helen's best friend, Jacqui Robinson, was going out with Helen's brother Martin and they gave Curran a place to stay after Helen went missing.
"I had a gut feeling that something was off but I never said anything because there was no evidence at the time," Ms Robinson told the Irish Independent.
"And he slept so solidly every night, not like someone who was worried about his missing partner or like someone who had something on his conscience," adding that she misses Helen every day.
"She was a lovely girl, really bubbly and with great wit."
She said that everyone knew Helen had problems with drugs, but that she was ready to get clean.
"She was on a waiting list to get into rehab and she was determined to get clean.
"She texted me the week before she went missing and said she was really happy and had loads of news to tell me."
Helen's father, Michael, said his daughter was young when she "fell in with the wrong side".
Curran, of The Weir, Lucan, claimed that he was trying to shoot himself when his partner tried to grab his shotgun out of his hand.
He said the gun went off and she died of a single shotgun blast. He said he then panicked and hid her body because he didn't think anyone would believe it was an accident.
Curran's two daughters sobbed in the court as the sentence was passed.
Ms O'Connor added that the family were grateful the case was over.
"It's some kind of justice and it's closure for us. And that's what we need now, so we can try to move on," she said.