THE mum of a young Cork woman murdered when helping her friend has spoken about the pain of hearing the killer was eligible for parole.
Maria Dempsey from Rockchapel is speaking out as the issue of parole has been highlighted in recent days by the family of Rachel Callally, whose husband Joe O’Reilly is seeking parole.
Maria’s 21-year-old daughter Alicia Brough was murdered when she tried to save her friend Sarah Hines and her baby daughter Amy when they were being attacked by Sarah’s ex, John Geary.
Both women were killed, along with the baby and Sarah Hines’s older son Reece, in November 2010. The bodies were not discovered until the following day.
John Geary pleaded guilty to the four murders and was sentenced to life in prison.
Maria Dempsey has campaigned for improvements in the law for cases of domestic homicide.
She said the parole system is traumatising for families of murder victims, adding that it took three years for the legalities around Alicia’s murder to be finished. These included the inquest and the sentencing of John Geary for murder.
She said that just four years later, Geary was entitled to apply for parole.
She revealed: “Our first parole letter arrived in the same week of the seventh anniversary of their deaths, a time where we use positivity to remember Alicia. It was so painful, it feels like it is all about his rehabilitation. Fact is we get no rehabilitation.
“I couldn’t respond to the parole review, I could not find the words.”
She added: “No one can imagine the trauma and disruption to their right to live in peace.”
The Department of Justice defines parole as applying to “offenders convicted of serious offences with longer sentences, including life sentences”.
The department adds: “The Parole Board reviews the cases of prisoners serving life sentences and fixed sentences of eight years or more.
“Usually, the Board tries to review individual cases half-way through the sentence or after seven years, whichever comes first.”