‘Christina Anderson took him’: family of loving father killed in stabbing speak of pain

Anderson (41) pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility over death of neighbour

The family of a loving dad who was stabbed to death while he tried to jump-start his car on the way to work has called for justice, saying his killer Christina Anderson gave her victim no chance and destroyed their lives.

Gareth Kelly (38) had never met Anderson (41) before she approached him and stabbed him five times, fatally injuring him. At a sentencing hearing today, Mr Kelly’s partner Maria Murphy described the deceased as a loving dad with a “cheeky smile” who was adored by his children.

“We didn’t lose Gareth, Christina Anderson took him,” she said. “She caused us all this pain. Our kids will never see their daddy again and he will never see his kids again, never read them stories or watch a movie, get a pizza, have parties or see his kids grow up. He will not be there to see his kids make their debs or do their Leaving Cert. He never had a chance to walk any of his daughters down the aisle.”

Anderson of Brownsbarn Wood, Kingswood, Dublin 22, stabbed Mr Kelly five times as he tried to start his car outside her home at about 7am on the morning of February 25th, 2020.


She was initially charged with murder and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. In January this year, more than one month into her trial, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) accepted a plea of guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility due to a mental disorder. The State accepted that Anderson was experiencing a psychotic episode due to bipolar affective disorder but did not qualify for the full defence of a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act.

Ms Justice Karen O’Connor on Monday heard the first of two sentencing hearings during which members of Mr Kelly’s family made statements detailing the impact his killing has had on them and their community. The judge will hear pleas in mitigation by Anderson’s lawyers on May 22nd, before passing sentence.

In a statement read out on Monday by prosecution barrister Pat McGrath SC, Mr Kelly’s mother Noeleen Kelly said there are “no words to explain the loss and heartache I feel right now.” Gareth “lived and breathed” for his family and would do anything for anybody, she said.

He had two jobs and worked hard to “give the kids the life they wanted”.

She said she watched the CCTV footage, shown during the trial, of her son’s last moments. “He smiled at a passerby, not remotely aware of what lay ahead for him, just going to work.”

She said she is left forever with the memory of the expression on his face after Anderson stabbed him the first time. “Was he scared, was he frightened? My son lay dying on that pathway between two cars, struggling for his last breath. Why?”

She said the family is living a life sentence with each day bringing pain and sorrow and reminders of what they have lost. Due to the outbreak of Covid shortly after Gareth’s death, the family was unable to grieve together and Gareth’s father died alone in hospital 14 months after his son “with a broken heart and no answers or justice”.

Mr Kelly’s sister Lorraine Kelly said she felt a lump in her throat, an ache in her heart and tears in her eyes every time she heard her brother referred to in court as “the late” or “the deceased”. “He was my younger brother, one of the most intriguing people I have ever known and he was taken from this earth so horrifically.”

He was a great father, she said, and a loving partner to Maria. “He was always the life and soul of a gathering and cherished everything, even when life was not going his way.”

Ms Justice O’Connor adjourned the matter until May 22nd when she will hear pleas in mitigation from Anderson’s defence lawyers.