Sister of stabbing victim calls for greater protection for abused women

Anna Finnegan

The grief-stricken sister of a woman stabbed to death by her ex-partner has called for greater legal protection for women in abusive relationships.

Lisa Finnegan also urged women in similar relationships to speak out and seek protection before it is too late.

She was speaking outside court after Vesel Jahiri was sentenced to life in jail for killing her sister, Anna Finnegan, a month after the deceased had sought shelter at a women’s refuge.

Speaking to reporters on the steps of the Central Criminal Court, Dublin, yesterday, Lisa Finnegan said: “Don’t be afraid. I know the fear Anna was in. She was petrified to come forward.

“But when she did, she was so relieved that she did.

“It was tragic what happened. And we’re hoping that some kind of law will be changed so that women are protected the second they decide to come forward and speak out against the violence that’s been rained down on them.

“We’re hoping somebody is listening to this and will make some move to make it safe for young women to come forward.”

Jahiri, aged 35, of no fixed abode, had not guilty to murdering Anna Finnegan, aged 25, at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, on September 21, 2012. 

He also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Anna’s brother, Karl Finnegan, causing him harm, at the same place on the same date. 

Vesel Jahiri
Vesel Jahiri

Last month a jury found Jahiri, who is originally from Kosovo, guilty on both counts.

During the trial, Jahiri assaulted prosecution lawyer Patrick Marrinan in front of the jury after dismissing his legal team and deciding to represent himself.

Yesterday, three prison officers in full riot gear accompanied the handcuffed accused into court for his sentencing hearing.

Lisa Finnegan told the court her “mind has never recovered” after her sister, whom she described as an “angel” and “an amazing mother”, was “murdered in such a savage and terrifying manner” by “a monster”.

And she told how she and her family lived in “terror” as they waited on the killer — who had fled the country during a previous trial for the same charge — being apprehended.

She said: “Anna told me the night before she was murdered some of the physical and mental torture which had been rained down on her poor little body and already exhausted mind.

“As Ann and I never got to finish our chat, I’m now left with despicable and torturous imaginings of what her short adult life had entailed. 

"On that fatal night, when my brother Karl was also attacked and assaulted by this monster I, moments after the attack, was told he would be down for myself and my children.”

“Instant terror entered our lives until he was eventually found.

“Then pure terror again while he was on bail, and after he absconded I barely left my home or left my children’s side. Sleep was a thing of the past. I was a prisoner in my own home, always ready to defend myself or my family.

“I couldn’t see Anna’s babies for fear that we were being watched, which we knew he did on Anna so many times.

“Our lives have mostly been a living hell for the past four and a half years.

“The only possible way we could ever begin to move on and try to be happy again is knowing we are safe for the longest possible time.

“We hope and pray the court will consider the fear we endured.

“The shocking and violent behaviour displayed to us all makes me sadly understand even more how scared she was of him.

“He took an angel that night. A wonderful, loving, kind, selfless soul. An amazing mother and best sister and friend.

“We will never get over the loss of Anna. I will never get over my sister’s life being taken so brutally but I will live my life as best I can in her memory and, please God, without fear.”

Sentencing Jahiri to life, Mr Justice Coffey also jailed him for four years for assaulting Mr Finnegan.


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