Mother of boys killed by father wants longer jail terms before parole

Kathleen Chada wants life sentence term served before parole bid increased to 12 years

Kathleen Chada wants to see a new law introduced that will extend the time a prisoner must serve before they are eligible to apply for parole. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Kathleen Chada wants to see a new law introduced that will extend the time a prisoner must serve before they are eligible to apply for parole. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Kathleen Chada, the mother of two boys killed by their father almost five years ago, is calling for the implementation of a new law which would extend the jail term a prisoner must serve before they can seek parole.

Her former husband Sanjeev Chada, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 after driving his sons, Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (five), to Co Mayo before strangling them in late July 2013.

The Parole Bill would extend the time a prisoner serving a life sentence must serve before they can appeal for parole from seven years to 12 years.

“If that is implemented in the next 12 to 14 months then he [Sanjeev] can’t apply for parole until he has served 12 years,” she said.

“That’s one piece of legislation I want to see implemented as soon as possible,” she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show on Tuesday.

Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (5) Chada who were killed by their father Sanjeev Chada 2013. Photograph: Family handout/Garda/PA Wire
Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (5) Chada who were killed by their father Sanjeev Chada 2013. Photograph: Family handout/Garda/PA Wire

Ms Chada said she feared for her life when he released from prison. “My greatest nightmare is bumping into him over the grave. He threatened me. He planned to take my life along with the boys.”

She welcomed plans for an independent study of domestic homicides in Ireland, such as the murder of the Hawe family, which Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan brought bring to Cabinet on Tuesday.

It is envisaged proposed study will pave the way for the introduction of statutory Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) next year, similar to those operating in the UK.

Clodagh Hawe and her three sons were murdered by her husband Alan in their Cavan home in 2016.

Ms Chada said the study will provide answers for families and will look at the incident through the lens of the victim. However, she warned this review could take a year and in the meantime more people will be killed.

“It could take a year for the review to be completed. Historically we know that in a year women and children will be killed while the study is going on. Something has to be done immediately.”

She said looking at the history and background will provide some answers and prevent other homicides, she said. It would not give answers in her case because her husband pleaded guilty.

Ms Chada also pointed out the “imbalance” in the funds invested in services. “Counselling and support services for families received funding of €28,000 last year while there was €50 million spent on legal aid. That’s simply not fair.”

After the deaths of her sons she had to cancel the children’s allowance, change the electricity bill and Sky subscription from her husband’s name. There is a need for support for the day to day things that have to be changed, she said.

“Your entire world is just taken from you. You have moments to make decisions.”

There are “so many loopholes in the legislation at the moment,” she said.