herald

Monday 11 December 2017

After four years, Rachel gets 'Callaly' headstone

MURDERED MUM: Brown marble tribute finally gets the go ahead

The headstone that will mark Rachel O'Reilly's grave will be made of brown marble and will be inscribed with her maiden name Callaly, the Herald has learned.

Rachel's father Jim Callaly will soon erect the permanent memorial after a lengthy battle with her killer husband Joe O'Reilly and a delay in clearing red tape with Fingal County Council.

A dispute between the Callalys and O'Reilly over who could put up the headstone was resolved last year after O'Reilly lost his appeal against his conviction for murder.

But more than four years after O'Reilly bludgeoned his wife to death at their Naul home, her grave is now only marked with a hand-painted sign simply saying 'Rachel'.

"Before Rachel was killed, O'Reilly was her next of kin, but after he got convicted of her murder and lost his appeal he lost the right to be her next of kin and that title came back to Rose and me," Jim told the Herald.

"There had been an objection by Joe to me putting up a headstone, because I was going to use the Callaly name and not his, but that was all sorted out once it was clear we were next of kin again."

Jim then had to wait until some final red tape with Fingal County Council, who own the cemetery, was sorted out.

This took some time, but Jim has received communication from the council in recent weeks that indicates the matter is now resolved and he can proceed with organising the headstone on her grave.

The Callalys have already picked out a brown marble headstone for their daughter.

They also know the inscription that will be written on it, but will not reveal the wording until the time the headstone is erected, except that it does not contain the surname O'Reilly in it.

"Rachel's name will be written as Callaly, not O'Reilly," Jim confirmed to the Herald.



PHONE

Mother-of-two Rachel (30) was beaten to death by husband Joe at the family home in the Naul in October 2004.

O'Reilly then drove back to work, leaving his wife's body behind after staging a burglary at the house.

When one of the children was not collected from school and Joe was contacted, he rang Rachel's mother Rose.

It was her who made the shocking discovery of Rachel's body later that day.

O'Reilly was charged with the murder in 2006. The prosecution's case was largely reliant on circumstantial evidence, including phone records which placed his phone at the Naul at the time of the murder.

The jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict on July 21 2007 and O'Reilly was jailed for life. His appeal later failed, and O'Reilly continues to serve life in the Midlands Prison.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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