Kathleen Chada: ‘I thought we were an ordinary family’

Sanjeev Chada is jailed for life for murdering his two sons

Kathleen Chada is supported by family and friends as they leave Dublin Central Criminal Court yesterday. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Kathleen Chada is supported by family and friends as they leave Dublin Central Criminal Court yesterday. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

The mother of two young boys killed by their father last year has asked how “can evil such as this have been hidden for so long” in a man who appeared to be so loving.

Sanjeev Chada (44) was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment after admitting to what the Central Criminal Court heard was a crime fuelled entirely by mounting gambling debts.

In July last year, Chada drove his boys Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (5) to Co Mayo where he strangled them before writing in a note: “I suppose we will always be together now in some way.”

In court yesterday, he was handed two mandatory life sentences to be served concurrently.

A composed and determined Kathleen Chada showed Mr Justice Paul Carney a picture of her sons before delivering her victim impact statement.

“I thought we were a normal, ordinary family. Blessed to have two beautiful boys, a lovely home, and good family and friends around us,” she said. “I thought I knew my husband.”

Chada, from Bagenalstown in Co Carlow, sat motionless in court, dressed in dark grey with his hair in a ponytail. His guilty pleas were barely audible.

A psychiatric report explained that everything leading up to the double murder and apparent suicide attempt by him had been spawned by his online stock-market gambling and an inability to accept that his mounting debts could be signs his system would not pay off.

His wife, whom he feared would leave him after he took €56,000 from a local community centre, said the day he left with Eoghan and Ruairí had seemed like a typical Sunday. In reality, Chada’s plans had been made.

“Little did I know that Sanj intended I never see any of them alive again,” she told the court.

“I question why he left me behind. I have to live with the belief he wanted me dead as well. He just didn’t know how – I would have fought tooth and nail for my boys.” She said their father had been their hero and he had betrayed their love. “How can evil such as this have been hidden for so long in a seemingly loving father?”

Eoghan and Ruairí had their whole lives ahead of them, she said. Eoghan wanted to be a farmer, a chef or a golfer like Rory McIlroy. His younger brother only wanted to emulate him.

“He [Ruairí] had so much confidence because he always knew he had his big brother looking out for him,” she said.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Eoghan fought for both their lives on that night last year.”