Families struggling to cope with aftermath of violent murders
Brother says he hopes the killer sees his victims’ faces every day
Sarah Hines’s step-father Peter Rolfe fought back the tears as he recalled the ‘catastrophic’ impact of the murders of her and her two children. Photograph: Collins Courts
With four knives and a screwdriver he killed Ms Hines and their five-month-old daughter Amy. When her friend Alicia Brough arrived back from the shop with Ms Hines’s son Reece (3), he killed them too.
Alicia Brough’s mother Maria Dempsey was the first relative to sit in the witness box and tell Mr Justice Paul Carney how the crime had affected her family. She received her daughter’s ashes on the day she would have turned 21.
Ms Dempsey, who was pregnant at the time of her daughter’s death, asked that the names of Alicia’s siblings not be published as they would be on the internet forever. “Our children have been exposed to a tragic and evil world far too early in their lives.”
One of Ms Brough’s sisters was only three when she died but she “wailed uncontrollably” at the news. A young brother said his big sister was “fun, she played with us and she made great meals and tasty cakes”.
He recalled how she once told a fib but it was for a good reason. “She said the medicine I hated were soldiers with weapons and they would killed the bugs. And they did.”
Her teenage brother said she had been like a second mother to him. “Alicia bought me my first Stoke shirt,” he said in a victim impact statement. “She helped me to enjoy sports and I often feel that Alicia is with me, cheering me on when I am in a challenging situation.”
The central role Sarah Hines played in keeping her family together was mentioned several times. Her stepfather Peter Rolfe fought back the tears as he recalled the “catastrophic” impact of the murders of her and her two children.
As the only daughter, she was “irreplaceable” and without her the family was falling apart. “The enormousness of the void left behind, we feel, is unfillable.”
He also spoke of the guilt he felt in introducing Sarah to John Geary. Had he not done so, the four people would still be alive, he said.
In her victim impact statement, Sarah’s mother Abina said her daughter was “the heart of the family”. “Sarah was the glue that kept our family together and without her we are falling apart . . . every day is a struggle.”
Time was said to be a great healer but it was proving to be the opposite case. “The longer the distance since the day of the crime, the harder it gets.”
In his statement, Sarah Hines’s brother, Christopher, said he hoped Geary saw his victims’ faces every day to remind him of the evil and cowardly crime he had committed. “I hope it haunts him the way it haunts me.” Both he and his mother said they still had questions they wanted answered.
Jealousy over his former partner’s new relationship was the reason offered for John Geary’s actions by investigating gardaí but he did not give any explanations in his brief letter read out in court.
He said he had destroyed two families’ lives and had no idea what they had been going through.