By David Raleigh
The daughter of a young father beaten to death with an axe has made an emotional appeal for witnesses to help find justice for her family.
Nikita Lee, aged 11, said her Christmas wish is to have her Dad back, and for gardai to charge the killer.
Jeffrey Hannan, aged 19, was killed in an unprovoked attack near his home in Southill on November 22, 2007.
Gardai said he was an innocent victim, who had no links to crime.
Speaking on the eve of the 10th anniversary of her father’s murder, Nikita said: “I miss my Daddy so much. It hurts me to know that he is in a grave, and he’s not there for special occasions like my communion, my birthday, and at Christmas."
“I wish my Daddy was here to open my Christmas presents with me, so he could help me and hug me and kiss me, and wish me a merry Christmas.”
She said: “Instead I have to visit his grave.”
Twenty people have been arrested but no one has ever been charged. Two years ago a potentially key witness contacted gardai which led to the re-arrest of six people. However the DPP ruled there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.
Nikita said she attends a local counselling service and feels “angry, hurt, and very confused … knowing that people know about what happened to my Daddy, and they won’t come forward and let us know what happened to get justice”.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in the world who has no Daddy."
Nikita said her letter to Santa this year will contain the same request as last year: “One thing is to have my Daddy back, or to get justice for him. To get the people who killed him (put) behind bars.”
Nikita has also written a personal tribute to her dad to mark his anniversary.
“I (wrote) my own verse; I went to my room and sat down on my bed and thought of my Daddy. I looked at his mortuary card and looked into his eyes in the photo, and was thinking he was such an innocent man, and that he was only a teenager."
"He only got to spend a year and one month with me, but I have to be thankful in other ways, that he got to spend time with me; because there are other children whose father’s were killed before they were even born, and that’s worse.”
She added: “I think my Daddy is in a better place because it’s an evil world, and he is just too good for this world.”
Appealing for witnesses to contact gardai, Nikita said: “Some people are afraid, or they might feel like they (have) ratted. I know where they are coming from, but they also need to help my family out, and help me.”
She said: “I’m going to school everyday and there’s not one minute that passes by that I’m not thinking of (my father). I feel so lonely, even though I have all my family around me, there is just one person I need, that’s my Dad.”
“I was his baby girl.”
She continued: “Everyone knows what happened to my Dad and everyone knows who killed him. What this is after doing to my family is unbelievable.”
“Step one day in my shoes and you’ll feel it.”
Like most other children, Nikita should be looking forward to Christmas but instead said it made her sad.
“Last year I couldn’t open my presents. I sat down on my chair and started roaring crying. I wished my Daddy was there to open them.”
She added: “What hurts me more is, (thinking about that) his last words were my name, and, then, I’m speechless.”
“I just can’t handle it. I just wish my Daddy was by my side.”
Anyone with information about Jeffrey Hannan’s murder can contact gardai at Roxboro Road (061214340); or the Garda confidential Line (1800-666-111).