Family of Nicola Collins ask if killer had 'served time' for previous assault would she still be alive

Family of Nicola Collins ask if killer had 'served time' for previous assault would she still be alive
Carly Collins, sister of the late Nicola Collins, outside court yesterday. Picture: Cork Courts

The sister of murder victim Nicola Collins has revealed how her family were shocked to learn that another woman had previously been assaulted by the man convicted of her murder.

Carly Collins said she would always now wonder if he had “served time” for that assault, would Nicola have not been killed.

“We did know about her before the case, but we could not talk about it. It was very upsetting to hear about that poor girl, what she went through, the same injuries.”

“We don’t know the criteria of decision making, how that decision came about. I wonder could she still be alive. My heart goes out to that girl’s family.”

Speaking on RTE's Today with Sean O’Rourke, Ms Collins told of the family’s relief at the conviction of Cathal O’Sullivan at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

She revealed how the trial had been a “surreal” experience and that the family was relieved that it was over “and that person is off the streets.”

The four weeks of the court case had been “horrendous” she said.

O’Sullivan (45), a native of Charleville, had denied the murder of Nicola Collins (38) at his rented upstairs flat on Popham’s Road in Farranree on March 27th, 2017.

The jury of nine men and three women at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork took just under four hours to find him guilty of the charge. Ms Justice Eileen Creedon sentenced O’Sullivan to the mandatory term of life in prison.

The late Nicola Collins
The late Nicola Collins

Carly Collins said that one of the most difficult aspects of the court case was having Nicola’s issues “blown out of proportion.” She acknowledged that Nicola did have issues with alcohol, but denied a defence claim that she had a brain disorder or did not feel pain.

“That someone could invent these things like this.”

She also said the family did not believe that O’Sullivan was her sister’s boyfriend or that they were in a stable relationship. “We hadn’t heard anything about him.”

“People had warned us that character assassination was to come. It would have been easier if he had admitted guilt and been remorseful.”

Killer Cathal O'Sullivan
Killer Cathal O'Sullivan

Although she had seen her sister’s body and knew of her injuries, Carly said she had still been shocked during the court case to learn the full extent of Nicola’s injuries “to know what she must have been put through.

“We’ve been told not to think about it, but it was still very shocking to hear.”

She described her sister as very funny with a great sense of humour. She also loved music, played the piano and loved writing. She found writing very therapeutic and loved to write in her journal.

Nicola was five years older than Carly. “She was the bigger sister, she looked out for me.”

While Nicola had problems in the past, Carly said that she had great moments and had been doing “really well.”

Carly said that Nicola’s three sons are young adults and they are having “a very hard time.”

After the court case yesterday the Collins family was approached by the aunt and sister of O’Sullivan, she said.

“We were all emotional and hugged. We didn’t feel any animosity towards his family, they must be struggling every bit as much as we are.”

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