‘The very worst of humanity’: Life sentence for man who stabbed Jennifer Poole to death

Jennifer Poole was a healthcare worker at Beneavin Lodge Care Home and played camogie with Erin’s Isle
‘The very worst of humanity’: Life sentence for man who stabbed Jennifer Poole to death

Alison O'Riordan

The brother of Jennifer Poole, who was fatally stabbed seven times by her boyfriend in her Finglas apartment, has said his family are tormented by the thoughts of what she endured that day and that she spent her last minutes on earth with the "very worst of humanity".

Jason Poole told the Central Criminal Court on Friday that: "No one deserves to die at the hands of another person for no reason. No one deserves to be treated like Jennifer was treated. No one should ever think they can control a person and make them feel worthless. Nobody should feel afraid or scared of someone else."

Sentencing judge Mr Justice Paul Burns noted this was "yet another case of a violent attack upon a young mother by a male partner".

The court also heard during Friday's sentencing hearing that the defendant, 30-year-old Gavin Murphy, has a previous conviction for assaulting a previous partner.

The court heard the relationship between Ms Poole and Murphy had ongoing difficulties in the months prior to the fatal assault and the deceased's friend had observed injuries on the mother-of-two in the week of and the day before she was murdered

In a letter of apology to the Poole family, which was read out by his defence counsel in court on Friday, Murphy said: "I know that nothing I can say can take away the pain. Everyone knew and loved Jennifer.

"I cannot say how sorry I am for what I have done. I pleaded guilty to murder to show how sorry I am.

"I wanted to save everyone who loved Jennifer from having to go through a trial. I wanted to accept full responsibility, I will never forgive myself for what I did".

Ms Poole's brother also said in his statement that their family have so many unanswered questions as to why and how someone could take the life of another person who was always there to help others who had a family and two "beautiful young children".

The testimony was heard as part of an emotional victim impact statement read to the court, where Murphy was sentenced to the mandatory term of life imprisonment for murdering Ms Poole. The sentence was backdated to April 17th, 2021 when he went into custody.

'A violent disposition'

Before sentencing the defendant, Mr Justice Burns said: "This is yet another case of a violent attack upon a young mother by a male partner, this case having fatal consequences for the deceased.

"Ms Poole was involved with the accused for one year prior to her death and their relationship was described as having difficulties.

"Her family and friends noticed injuries on Ms Poole prior to the fatal attack," the court heard.

The judge added: "The accused appears to be of a violent disposition, having previously been convicted of assault causing harm to a previous partner and her mother, where he produced a knife.

"It shows his disposition for violence upon women."

"Ms Poole received seven stab wounds, her neighbour witnessed it in part and that must have been a harrowing experience for her.

"The victim impact statements made were very eloquent, it is clear Ms Poole was a good and caring person, a devoted mother and respected in her community.

"The loss has had a devastating effect upon the family, particularly her two small children who are left to make their way in the world without the love of their mother," he concluded.

Mr Justice Burns also extended his condolences to the Poole family.

Mother of two Ms Poole (24) was stabbed to death at her first floor apartment in Melville Drive, Finglas, north Dublin, at around 2pm on April 17th, 2021.

Neighbours raised the alarm and emergency services attended the scene before she was rushed to Connolly Hospital where she died a short time later. Her cause of death was haemorrhage and shock due to multiple stab wounds.

Gavin Murphy, with an address at Coultry Drive, Ballymun, Dublin 9 appeared at the court on Friday for the sentencing hearing, having pleaded guilty on April 1st to murdering his girlfriend Ms Poole in her Dublin home.

Ms Poole, originally from the Ballygall area of Finglas, was a healthcare worker at Beneavin Lodge Care Home, and played camogie with local club Erin’s Isle.

After hearing two statements from Ms Poole's brothers on Friday afternoon, Mr Justice Burns sentenced Murphy to the mandatory term of life imprisonment for murder.

Earlier, the court heard Murphy has 13 previous convictions for the use of a mobile phone whilst in custody, the unlawful seizure of a vehicle, criminal damage, burglary, the production of an article in the course of a dispute and two counts of assault causing harm.

The court was told that the two assault charges were against his "romantic partner at the time" and her mother, when a knife was produced during a fight.

Dean Kelly SC, prosecuting, told the hearing that Ms Poole's young son was outside at the time of the fatal assault and could hear his mother's cries for help.

Ms Poole's friend and neighbour tried to break down the deceased's front door during the attack as Ms Poole screamed at her to kick the door in.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid (24-hour freephone helpline at 1800 341 900, email helpline@womensaid.ie) or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01 554 3811, email hello@mensaid.ie) for support and information. Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines at safeireland.ie/get-help/where-to-find-help/. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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