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Don't let Courtney out of jail -- victim's family

THE family of the woman killed by Sean Courtney has revealed the true horror of her attack, admitting they could not kiss her goodbye because she was beaten so badly.

Patricia O'Toole (31) was beaten to death by the former Army private in 1991 after stopping to ask him for directions.

The tragic woman's brother-in-law Peter Scannell (60) spoke for the first time yesterday about the details of her murder.

"I identified poor Patricia myself and her poor face was in bits. There was nowhere I could kiss her goodbye that wasn't bashed and bruised," he said.

The family broke their silence on the details of Patricia's death after it emerged that her killer was attempting to secure early release from his life sentence.

Courtney cited the birth of his new son, from a relationship he struck up with a pen pal while in prison, as the grounds for his release bid.

After getting a prison pass last September, he went on a three-day break with the mother of his child.


However, Patricia's family has stated that his new son is "irrelevant" due to the extreme violence in the case. He already has two children from previous relationships.

"We would not be happy if that man ever walked the streets again," Mr Scannell said on Joe Duffy's Liveline yesterday. He added that the former soldier who had served in Lebanon, proved to be a pathological liar and any new claims of remorse should not be trusted.

"I spent nine days listening to the evidence and all that Lebanon crap was blown out of the water. At one point, he claimed he found the body of a friend who had committed suicide but that was totally disproved."

While he has served 19 years of his life sentence, he has been released for Christmas for the last three years.

He is currently serving his time in Loughan House prison in Cavan. As a life prisoner, only the Minister for Justice can sign off on his release.

Mr Scannell explained that Patricia's family has never got over her death.