herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Family of murdered Sharon back call for sex killers to be registered

Ray Quinn with a wedding picture of him and his wife, Joyce Picture: Colin O'Riordan
Ray Quinn with a wedding picture of him and his wife, Joyce Picture: Colin O'Riordan

The husband of murdered rape victim Joyce Quinn, who has hit out at the fact that her killer will not be registered as a sex offender, has received the support of a group for the victims of crime.

Retired army colonel Ray Quinn (66) said killer rapist Kenneth O'Reilly is due for release from prison, yet there are no safeguards for the public because he is not on a register of sex offenders.

Advic chairman John Whelan's sister Sharon Whelan was raped and murdered on Christmas Day 2008 by Brian Hennessy, who also murdered her daughters Zarah (7) and two-year-old Nadia.

Yet when Hennessy is released, he will not be a registered sex offender either.

Anger

"I wholeheartedly support what Ray Quinn has said," Mr Whelan told the Herald.

Mr Quinn said this week that O'Reilly, who raped and stabbed his wife, was never charged with rape or sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to the murder near Kildare in 1996 and received a life sentence.

Mr Quinn expressed anger that O'Reilly was not charged with rape, as this means he will not be subject to the controls of the sex offenders' register on his release. He should have been charged with a sex crime too, he said.

Following the murder of his sister, Mr Whelan became one of the founders of Advic, a support group for families of homicide victims.

He recalled how Hennessy raped and murdered his sister at her home near Windgap, Co Kilkenny, and set fire to the house with her body and her two sleeping children inside.

The State did not proceed with a rape prosecution, and Hennessy pleaded guilty to three murders. He is serving three life sentences which are running concurrently - the equivalent of only one life sentence, said Mr Whelan.

"There is no doubt he raped Sharon. Her injuries stated at her inquest show that," he said. State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy told the inquest that the injuries to her body were consistent with "forced penetration."

Mr Whelan sharply criticised sentencing practices in Irish courts which allow killers to be eligible to apply for parole after only seven years.

He said that any person who raped and murdered a victim should be charged and convicted of both offences so they will be on a sex offenders' register when they are released.

The State should not be willing to make any decision in murder cases that could ever result in a sex crime charge not being proceeded with, he said.

Mr Whelan also called for the implementation of an EU directive that would help the victims of crime.

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