Nicola's family hope her death will encourage others in abusive relationships to seek help

Nicola's family hope her death will encourage others in abusive relationships to seek help

THE sister of murder victim Nicola Collins hopes that the jailing of her killer on Thursday will encourage women in violent relationships to seek help.

Cathal O'Sullivan was found guilty of Nicola Collins's murder in a unanimous verdict on Thursday and sentenced to life in prison.

Nicola had been beaten and suffered 125 wounds, including a fractured jaw.

The court was told on Thursday that O'Sullivan was given a suspended three-year sentence in November 2013 for a violent assault on another woman, who had been his girlfriend.

Michael Collins, father and Carly Collins, sister of the late Nicola Collins pictured after Cathal O'Sullivan (45) was convicted of the murder of mother of three Nicola Collins. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts
Michael Collins, father and Carly Collins, sister of the late Nicola Collins pictured after Cathal O'Sullivan (45) was convicted of the murder of mother of three Nicola Collins. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts

Nicola's sister Carly told the Evening Echo that she and the Collins family want to preserve Nicola's dignity, and described her as a “down to earth, humble person.” 

She added: "I am no authority to speak on these matters but I would hope this horrific ordeal being in the media so much may push someone in an abusive relationship to take the first step towards help.

"Perhaps the distance from a violent person would give some strength and perspective."

Carly said the family do not know why a suspended sentence was imposed in November 2013 for the first case but she said it must have been a traumatic experience for the woman involved.

She said she had tried to call Nicola from her home in Barcelona a week before Nicola's murder but did not manage to speak to her. 

Sometime later, Nicola returned the call while Carly was on another call and she did not spot the returned call until weeks after Nicola's funeral when she was looking through her phone.

She recalled: “I was on my way to work in Barcelona when I noticed it.” 

Recently, Carly read through all the Facebook messages and texts that the sisters had sent each other in recent years and was reminded of the encouraging and close bond they shared.

Carly said Nicola had “her struggles with alcohol” but she said she also went through periods of sobriety.

She added: “The biggest thing for us was that as long as she was alive, there was hope. She was on top of the world when she was sober.” 

She was sober when she first met Cathal O'Sullivan at a course they were both doing.

Carly said Nicola's family had never heard her talk about O'Sullivan.

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