herald

Wednesday 24 May 2017

'We've finally got justice for Anna' as mum's killer guilty

Caoimhe De Brun, Anna’s sister Lisa Finnegan and Janice O’Neill hold a picture of Anna outside court
Caoimhe De Brun, Anna’s sister Lisa Finnegan and Janice O’Neill hold a picture of Anna outside court

The heartbroken family of tragic Anna Finnegan finally has justice after "dangerous" ex-child soldier Vesel Jahiri was convicted of the mum's murder.

Anna's sister, Lisa Finnegan, said the "weight of the world" had lifted from their shoulders following the verdict at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

Jahiri (35) stabbed Anna to death outside her home at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, on September 21, 2012.

He also stabbed her brother, Karl Finnegan, in the frenzied attack. Jahiri had pleaded not guilty to Anna's murder and to a charge of assault causing harm to her brother. Just a month before the attack, the mum-of-two had sought refuge from Jahiri at a women's shelter in Bray.

Jahiri, who is originally from Kosovo, was flanked by four prison officers in riot gear as the guilty verdicts were delivered.

Shout

As the jury came into court to deliver their verdict, Jahiri began to shout: "Jurors I found the 999 call."

The jury found Jahiri guilty by unanimous verdict of murdering Anna, after six hours and 43 minutes of deliberations.

They also found him guilty by unanimous verdict of assaulting her brother Karl Finnegan, causing him harm. The court had heard Jahiri and Anna Finnegan met when she was 16 and they had two children.

Karl Finnegan gave evidence that his sister's relationship with Jahiri finished at the end of August 2012, with Anna moving into Bray Women's Refuge.

He said a social worker had put a safety plan in place and he was staying in Anna's house temporarily for that reason.

Mr Finnegan said he got to his sister's house at Allendale Glen at around 7.30pm on September 21 and Anna then arrived home with her children.

He testified that he and his sister were sitting at the kitchen table when they heard a "loud bang" as the front door of the house was forced in.

He looked up and saw Jahiri coming down the hall with a knife. Anna screamed and stood up from the table. Jahiri attacked him and he blacked out after suffering two stab wounds. Mr Finnegan told the court he went outside and saw Anna standing in the driveway of the house next door. Jahiri was a few feet in front of her.

He said Anna passed out and fell to the ground. Jahiri then came around the corner in his car, put Anna into the back and drove off. The killer took Anna to James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown.

A security guard told the court that as he was placing Anna onto a trolley, she pointed at Jahiri and said: "He did it."

After moving Anna into the resuscitation area, the guard went outside and both Jahiri and his car were gone.

The mum-of-two was pronounced dead a short time later.

The court was told of the physical and mental abuse Jahiri inflicted on her during their relationship.

Speaking after the verdicts, Lisa Finnegan said her family had been through a torturous journey since Anna's killing.

"It's been a very long, tedious, gruelling, exhausting time, and mentally draining, but the jury have made the right decision, they can sleep tight tonight knowing they have put a very dangerous man away," she said.

"We could not be happier unless our sister was here with us. The weight of the world has been lifted off our shoulders.

"He absconded for a year and a half and we lived in pure terror for that time because he had threatened to kill me, kill my children one by one in front of me - these things could never be told to the jury."

She also said there is help out there for women who suffer in abusive relationships.

Suffering

"I urge any young girls out there who are suffering the same as Anna did, to come forward, speak to somebody, anybody. Somebody will help you," she said. "You feel so alone sometimes, Anna told me, and that nobody will understand you or believe you, it's not true.

"There are people, anybody, your next door neighbour, your friend, your mother, your aunt, but we are so happy we've gotten justice for Anna here today."

She said her family can now finally move on with their lives.

"The world wasn't ready for this person," she said. "We are very scared of this man and the world can see why Anna was so terrified of him, we're just glad the whole thing is over now and we can move on with our lives and try and be happy again, and try and live without Anna."

Jahiri was then brought back into court and Mr Justice Paul Coffey told him his sentence date was fixed for May 8.

Jahiri shouted: "What you mean sentence, what conviction, what am I convicted for?"

The judge remanded Jahiri in custody until that date.

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