For more than 20 years, Niamh Holliday (née Seery) thought her mother’s death was an accident; an autopsy in 1994 wrongly found that Margot had died after choking on her own vomit as a result of alcohol intoxication.
Margot had, in fact, been strangled to death by a man she had only met that night, a crime that remained hidden until last year when 41-year-old Howard Kelly, with an address at Osprey Apartments, Naas, Co Kildare, came forward to confess his crime.
“I can’t say I’m happy about finding out my mam was murdered, but I am happy we know the truth,” said Ms Holliday on RTÉ’s Prime Time. “If anything, I am very grateful to Howard Kelly for actually coming forward to tell us this.”
Now on #rtept, our Barry Cummins speaks exclusively with the daughter of Margot Seery, murdered twenty years ago without anyone realising.— RTÉ Prime Time (@RTE_PrimeTime) November 10, 2015
Yesterday, as Kelly was jailed for life, evidence was given of how Margot had offered him a cup of coffee in her flat at Kenilworth Square in Dublin 6 to sober him up and get him away from her friend, who he had spoken to on the road.
The court heard how Kelly spent up to five minutes choking Margot before putting her body face-down on her bed and pulling the door of her flat shut behind him.
“It was horrible hearing about those last few minutes, to think the pure terror that she went through,” said Niamh. “I kept thinking: How did he do what he did? Yes, it seemed like a bit of a spur-of-the-moment decision that he did what he did, but he knew what he was doing.”
Kelly told gardaí he became enraged and attacked Margot from behind when she told him the other woman had gone home.
In a statement given to Prime Time, he expressed “deepest regret and remorse” for the “shock, pain, and suffering” he caused.
“I cannot describe how sorry I am for what I have done, nor the abhorrence I have for my actions... I am tormented with guilt and remorse and I hope the life sentence handed down by the court is of some comfort to Niamh and her family,” said Kelly.