‘We will never forget. We will never forgive’

The family’s victim impact statement read by the deceased’s sister, Cindy Duke:

‘We will never forget. We will never forgive’

We, the family of the late Jonathan Duke, wish to express the loss we feel every day since his death.

We think of him last thing at night and first thing in the morning. He was only 27 years old, stunningly tall and fit but still “our big baby”. He should have had the rest of his life in front of him, places to go and things to do.

He was talented in so many ways. He liked to write and draw and always looked forward to exploring new ideas. He once wrote a poem for our family. A line of it read: “Nothing can compare to the love that we share.”

We will never forgive for Jonathan’s young life being taken from us. Jonathan lived in Bandon all his life.

Our mother Michelle still looks out the window, somehow, hoping that he would call. Jonathan had three sisters, Cindy, Nicole, and Shannon. He was also the very proud father to his daughter, Angel. He was our father figure too. We looked up to him and could always go to him for help. We find it so hard to understand why anyone would want to take him from us.

He was trusting to be with his so-called friends. We cannot imagine why his life had to end in such a horrible, cruel, and evil way.

Jonathan was a caring person towards his family and daughter. Jonathan has one daughter, Angel, who is now 10. He was so proud of her. She has described feeling sad and angry at her loss and not having her dad any more.

She misses her time with her dad, walking along the riverside feeding the ducks with scraps of bread. Her last sight of her father was seeing him walking towards Bridge House on that Sunday evening. What a terrible memory.

A number of years ago, Jonathan had a very bad accident. He fell from the window of apartment 3, Bridge House, the same apartment where he was cared for as a baby by his mother and, yes, the same apartment where he was attacked and strangled.

As his family, we were constantly by his side and nursed him back to health.

It was a difficult time... we were there for him. After his remarkable recovery [from the fall] we thought he would he would be with us for a long time. We were wrong.

The trial was very difficult. Watching the CCTV footage we wanted to pluck Jonathan off the screen and bring him home. It was heartbreaking to hear all the horrendous facts being put before us. We will never forget. We will never forgive.

* The family thanked the judge, prosecution team, gardaí, family, friends, and the people of Bandon for their support.

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