herald

Monday 5 December 2016

'He was the least violent man you could imagine' - Tom O'Gorman's brother and sister's emotional victim impact statement

Saverio Bellante. Inset: Tom O’Gorman
Saverio Bellante. Inset: Tom O’Gorman
Tom O'Gorman
Saverio Belante
Accused Saverio Bellante

THE brother and sister of the late Tom O’Gorman, who was killed by Saverio Bellante, have told a court the “greatest injustice, is the unnecessary fact of Tom’s death.”

Catherine and Paul O’Gorman, in their victim impact statement to the Central Criminal Court today, said 39-year-old Tom was “the least violent man you could imagine, ultimately facing such appalling violence himself.”

“For us he was …..our big brother,” said Ms O’Gorman. “He was funny. He was interested and excited by life. He was gentle, with an honesty that made him vulnerable. He was passionate about his faith and also deeply empathetic, intellectually curious and always open to dialogue.”

Bellante (36) was last week, found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. He admitted killing Mr O’Gorman at his home in Castleknock in Dublin on January 12, 2014 but denied the murder.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan said, on the basis of a consultant’s evidence, she would commit Bellante to the Central Mental Hospital.

“Since the death of our brother Tom, we have felt absolute devastation,” Ms O’Gorman said in her statement.

“The last year and a half have been unimaginably painful. While we are grateful to the court for giving us the opportunity to make this statement, it is impossible to adequately articulate how this has impacted our lives.’

She explained the focus of the court has been to examine the actions and state of mind of the accused.

But, she said, for them, Tom’s brother and sister, the “most enduring experience since January 12, 2014, can only ever be the unending loss of our brother.”

She said although Tom has been primarily described during the trial as a victim of the crime committed, this is not how they remember him.

She described Tom as being a “talker. He liked to pretty much talk to anyone.”

She said the one thing Paul, her brother will miss the most “are the long phone calls they shared discussing and analysing everything from rugby and soccer to GAA.”

She said for the benefit of the jury in the trial, they heard in great detail the acts of violence committed upon Tom.

“These acts have been central in coverage by the media for the benefit of the public,” said Ms O’Gorman.

“But, to us, as his loved ones, we think only about whether he suffered, whether he was afraid, what he experienced - the least violent man you could imagine, ultimately facing such an appalling violent death himself.”

“It is important to us that Tom is not remembered for how he died, but for how he lived - and for the warm and beautiful person he was,” she continued. “He is deeply loved and painfully missed by his family and friends.”

“The trial is the only thing that will conclude with any finality today - for Paul and me our loss and heartbreak will continue.”

She said finally they can only hope that the Irish State do everything in its power to ensure that such tragedy never happens again.

“At the very least with regard to taking responsibility for the future actions of the accused here today,” she concluded.

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