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'It is not knowing that is the really haunting part...'

This is an edited victim Impact Statement by Susanna Cawley, Celine Cawley's sister:

IT IS next to impossible to put into writing what has happened in our lives since December 15th, 2008, but I will do my best. Celine, the good-humoured, roguish, fun, compassionate and caring sister, has been entirely deleted from my mind. In her place is the horror of a battered, shaven-head, terrified woman with 18 facial injuries, slipping in blood and frost, fighting for her life on the patio of the house of her dreams.

It is the not knowing that is the really haunting part if it.

I was with my other sister Barbara and mother Brenda when they passed away. Their deaths were a triumph over illness and I got great consolation from that and the care they received from the hospice staff. For Celine and all those of us who mourn her deeply, we were utterly deprived of any dignity, spirituality or peace. Even at her funeral, the media circus left us bereft of the usual comfort of the rituals.

The endless lies and scenarios are all that are in my mind, as is the terrifying realisation that we will probably never know what really happened on December 15th, 2008. At night I play the scenes over and over in my mind of Celine's dying moments. Was she in pain? Was she conscious? Did she think about? Did she know she was dying? There is only one person who has the answers to all those questions but it seems that I will never know. This is very hard to accept.

It was obvious very quickly that we were not going to be told anything. We had to walk a tightrope and are still walking a tightrope now to make a secure future for (Celine's daughter). We are all here for her but we were and still are absolutely powerless. Every avenue we have tried to go down, we find that we have no legal entitlement. We tried to sort out her financial and residential future but we could do nothing. There is the strain of knowing that if it was me who died, it would have been Celine sorting out my three kids. Celine was very strong and always willing to muck in. I think she would be very cross with me for standing by so politely.

She was always someone who could be relied on if a crisis befell. Celine was so generous to all her godchildren and nieces and nephews. She knew all of their birthdays and always got them age-appropriate presents. She was a big kid herself and spent so much time picking out the remote controlled tractors and fluffy puppy dogs, she probably got as much kick out of them as they did.

The treacherous lies are overwhelming. The worst had to be the one Eamonn told us of the intruder and of Celine's last moments to my wonderful, honourable 80-year-old dad when he alleged she pulled her fingers down his face.

Whatever about the rest of us, Dad deserves to know the truth and advantage was taken of his total loyalty. The lack of remorse is also hard to credit despite 13 months of opportunity to at least apologise to my father.

Celine was a fantastic businesswoman with great organisational skills and put a stamp in people's hearts. Every day of the trial, at least one of her school friends attended and her best friend and cousin, Juliette, who is still devastated and whose life was also shattered, also attended here in court 19.

You can be sure Celine has put St Peter out of a job and is manning the gates of heaven. Celine, our lives are enriched from knowing you. We still miss and will miss you desperately. We shall open our eyes, smile, love and go on.

All the stars are coming out tonight, they're lighting up the sky tonight for you. We will struggle on and do as you would have wanted.


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