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'Torment' over Siobhan killing goes on – sister

MURDER victim Siobhan Kearney was "executed by a monster" and every anniversary, Christmas and birthday arrives "like a bomb to the heart" for her grieving family, according to her sister.

Her horrific death has left her parents and sisters living a life of "daily torment," Brighid McLaughlin has said.

The former journalist has spoken out about her sister Siobhan's murder in spring 2006.

Siobhan's body, discovered by her parents, was strangled, first manually and then with the cord of a vacuum cleaner by her husband, Brian Kearney in their home in Goatstown. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment.

"She was strung up above her bathroom door like an animal," Brighid revealed.

PENALTY

"Her three-year-old son Dan, with his tousled mop of blond hair, was asleep in his room next to hers.

"She was executed. Executed by a monster who had a barbecue in the back yard of that very house two months later."

Brighid, who refers to her late sister as 'Seanie', says she never believed in the death penalty. However, she admits there were "savage, dark moments" when she wondered if she would have "pressed the button".

"Homicide is such a surreal event. You keep asking yourself if this really happened," she said. Why was Seanie beneath my feet in a cold grave on a rainy day.

"Why was she not baking her scallion scones in her Spanish kitchen?"

Every time Brighid leaves her sister's grave, she says she has to "readjust her brain and say some prayers".

The distress of her sister's murder has never left the McLaughlin family. "It is a daily torment," said Brighid.

She says that while she has always been against the death penalty, she had thoughts about it last year when she attended the annual Blessings of the Graves with her family.

"It was utterly horrendous," she added. My elderly parents, who had the unenviable task of finding their daughter's body, could barely stand, my sisters and myself were all in bits.

"I am a total pacifist. Yet, if there was a button to press at that moment, during those savage, dark moments, when I thought of how she died, would I press it? There were seconds, very distressing seconds, when I believed I would."

Her chief memory of her sister is of her in a cook's white apron, rolling pastry in the kitchen of the small hotel in Majorca which Siobhan and Brian had owned together.

Brighid and Siobhan (38) had just started writing a cookery book together.

The former Sunday Independent journalist says that when she is asked by people how she survives every day, "the answer is simple, I don't".

"Every anniversary, Christmas, birthday arrives like a bomb to the heart. Yet you can't push grief along," she said.

"One day you do arrive. That moment is like breathing for the first time. Why? There are simply no tears left."

hnews@herald.ie


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