A TEEN who had hoped to be adopted by tragic murder victim Amanda Jenkins has spoken of her devastation when the plans fell through.
Big-hearted Amanda Jenkins had intended to adopt the local girl who had fallen on hard times.
However, the plan had to be abandoned when checks uncovered her killer partner Stephen Carney's criminal past.
Carney (33) was sentenced to life behind bars last week for strangling Amanda (27) and leaving her lifeless body in their city apartment for 40 hours while he went on a drinking binge.
Today the girl who would have been cared for by Amanda if she had been adopted opened her heart about the loving lady, said she had been like a mother to her, and told of her shock and grief when she found out 'Mandy' had been murdered.
Caroline (whose name has been changed to protect her identity) was brought up near where Amanda lived with her mother Ann.
"We went everywhere together. Mandy was like a mother to me. And when one of my family took ill, I did not know what was going to happen to me," said Caroline, now in her teens.
"I was a bit of a handful, but Mandy kept me out of trouble. She was always there for me," she added.
After Caroline's relative got sick, Amanda declared that she wanted to adopt her.
"She had always said she would look after me, but to hear her say it blew me away. I was so happy," Caroline smiled.
Amanda was seeing Stephen Carney at this stage, although he was still serving a sentence in Portlaoise Prison.
"I knew about Stephen, we used to go and visit him," Caroline explained.
"Mandy was madly in love with him. She could have had any fella she wanted, but she only wanted him. She saw what she thought was the good in everybody," she added.
But the adoption plan was doomed to failure. Background checks revealed Carney's criminal activity and authorities would not let it proceed.
"It was very hard. In Mandy's eyes we were a family. It was really upsetting for her not to be able to adopt me, but it didn't stop us having a great relationship," Caroline explained.
Then Carney was released from jail and moved Amanda away from the bosom of her family and friends to their apartment off Thomas Street.
"When he got out I think he wanted her all to himself. She had a lot of friends where she lived first, but he moved her away, which I don't think she would have wanted," Caroline said of the move.
About a week before Amanda was killed, Caroline went to a pub where Amanda worked to see if she could meet her.
"She was so happy to see me, she kept hugging me. We started phoning and texting again, it was great.
But on October 8 2007 Caroline's world came crashing down. She heard the reports that a woman had been found dead in an apartment near Thomas Street. Then a friend rang in tears to tell her Amanda was dead.
"When I heard Stephen had been arrested I just felt sick. How someone could turn like that I just don't know," Caroline said.
But justice prevailed, and Carney was found guilty of murdering Amanda, resulting in a life sentence.
"I just broke down with tears of joy. He got what he deserved." said Caroline.
Caroline is settled now and says the fact that her life is on track is down to Amanda.
"I will always stay on a good path. I have promised everyone that, and I have promised Mandy," she said.