herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

'Anna was planning her future the night before she was killed'

Lisa Finnegan, whose sister Anna was brutally murdered by abusive former partner Vesel Jahiri
Lisa Finnegan, whose sister Anna was brutally murdered by abusive former partner Vesel Jahiri

The sister of Anna Finnegan, who was murdered by her former partner, has revealed she spent the night before she was killed planning for her future and was "elated to be free".

Anna (24) was murdered by Kosovan Vesel Jahiri, in 2012. He also stabbed her brother Karl, who was with her as part of her safety plan.

Jahiri was jailed for life for her killing this week.

In 2012, Anna ended their relationship and moved to a women's shelter. The night before she was stabbed to death she spent her evening making plans for the future.

"She said to me 'I can't believe I have my whole life ahead of me', she felt free of him," her sister Lisa told the Herald.

"I want people to know that because this will not be the case for most girls."

Torture

Jahiri subjected Anna to mental torture, Lisa said, controlling everything from her phone and their son's medication, to contact with her family.

"I said to her 'Anna, why didn't you tell anyone?' and she said 'because he was threatening me. He was telling me he would kill you and run to Kosovo with my daughter, I couldn't move sideways'," Lisa said. "She cried herself, in her own blood, to sleep so many times."

Some of the instances of violence left Anna with serious injuries.

She told her family she lost count of the number of times she was physically abused.

At the time of her death, she had a scab across her arm from when thug Jahiri had punched her in the head and she tore her arm along the cooker.

However, it was the psychological abuse that took the greatest toll, Lisa said.

"She told me all this the night before she was murdered," her sister said. "The fear comes from threats that are made. They can be violent threats, psychological threats.

"It's horrendous to think that she was afraid we would be killed at some point - and believed it as well. Now we can all see she had very good reason to believe those threats.

"She told me that she could be just up at the cooker cooking and he may have read a message or seen something on Facebook and he would just jump to his own conclusions.

"He would just come behind her and whisper in her ear 'Anna, I hope you're not going anywhere, you'd come back for a funeral I know that'. These fears resonated with Anna and she really took them very seriously. I can't imagine, you know, a young girl with her whole life ahead of her, trapped and desperate."

Lisa said that when Anna finally revealed the abuse all of her family were incredibly supportive, and she wants other victims to realise that they too can get help.

"I wanted to know from Anna how so much time had gone by. She said the biggest feeling she could tell me was she felt needlessly ashamed," she said. "The more it happened, the harder it got to admit and the shame just got bigger, when in fact all along he should have been feeling shame."

The Women's Aid National Freephone Helpline is on 1800 341 900

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