Limerick man sentenced to life for four murders
John Geary stabbed ex-partner and baby and then killed two others who happened upon scene
John Geary (37), of Meadow Court, Newcastle West, Co Limerick, stabbed his ex-partner and their five-month-old daughter to death because she had left him. He stabbed the other woman and child to death because they had arrived at the scene and caught him. Photograph: Don Moloney/Press 22
A Limerick man has been given four concurrent life sentences for murdering two women and two children.
John Geary (37), of Meadow Court, Newcastle West, Co Limerick, stabbed his ex-partner and their five-month-old daughter to death because she had left him. He stabbed the other woman and child to death because they had arrived at the scene and caught him.
Geary had pleaded guilty to murdering his ex-partner Sarah Hines (25), their five-month-old daughter Amy, her three-year-old brother Reece and 20-year-old Alicia Brough at a house in Hazelgrove, Newcastle West, on November 15th, 2010.
Det Insp Eamon O’Neill told the Central Criminal Court gardaí had found two knives and a screwdriver at the scene but believed up to five weapons had been used.
He explained that when Geary arrived at the house that day he found Sarah and Amy Hines.
“Alicia Brough had taken Reece to the butcher’s,” he said.
He said Geary had attacked mother and baby with a knife with exceptional violence. He inflicted 21 wounds on his ex-partner’s face, neck and chest, including seven stab wounds and eight incise wounds. Geary inflicted nine knife wounds on his baby daughter.
Det Insp O’Neill said a pathologist found Sarah Hines had struggled to defend herself, but would have collapsed once she sustained knife wounds to her heart and lungs. The postmortem findings suggested Amy Hines died rapidly.
“It would be our belief that Alicia Brough walked in on the attack,” said Det Insp O’Neill.
He explained Ms Brough sustained 14 to 16 wounds to various parts of her body and that they would not have resulted in immediate death.
Geary used a screwdriver to kill Reece, who was not related to him. He inflicted 15 wounds on the boy, including a number of penetrating wounds to his neck, spinal cord, lung, heart and aorta. His death would have been rapid, if not instant.
“He used a knife, which broke in the killings,” he said the detective, explaining that Geary then used a sickle knife before using a screwdriver to attack Reece. He said Geary then changed his clothes before walking home.
However, he realised that he’d left his key in Hazelgrove and so returned to the scene and got his key. Before he left he locked up the house, meaning gardaí had to force the door when the alarm was raised the following day.
Geary then travelled by bus to Kilkee where he checked into a guesthouse and had a drink at the bar. He had a full breakfast the following morning, before going to two pubs. He was arrested in the second pub that afternoon.
Det Insp O’Neill said Geary met Sarah Hines in 2008 and that they’d had an on-off relationship until she became pregnant with Amy in 2009. They had become close again after the birth, but split again soon afterwards.
“It’s our belief that Mr Geary was driven out of jealousy and control,” he said. “As far as she was concerned, they had split. He wasn’t accepting that.”
Geary had told people he wasn’t happy, he said. Ms Hines had entered a new relationship and Geary at one stage took her phone away to prevent contact with her new boyfriend.
“It’s our belief that John Geary became very, very jealous and went to confront her,” he said.
Det Insp O’Neill explained that Geary had attended horticultural college and was from a decent, high-achieving family. He had limited contact with them since he was 18, but had gone to visit them after Amy’s birth.
He added Geary had previous convictions for larceny, forgery, theft and burglary.