herald

Friday 27 April 2018

Nikki continues to visit jailed wife-killer Joe in her decade of devotion

Nikki Pelley
Nikki Pelley

Wife-killer Joe O'Reilly's long-term love Nikki Pelley has been maintaining weekly visits and regular phone calls with the convicted murderer - despite rumours of a break-up earlier this year.

The Sunday World snapped Pelley visiting O'Reilly at the weekend, exactly 10 years on from his conviction for the brutal murder of his wife and mother of his children, Rachel O'Reilly.

Pelley travelled almost every week to see the murderer in the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, where O'Reilly was held until he was transferred to Arbour Hill in 2013.

It was recently claimed that O'Reilly's relationship with Pelley, an advertising executive, had ended.

Rumours

It was believed the romance was brought to an end after O'Reilly (43) lost his chance of a final appeal against his conviction in November, and Pelley ended things after all hope of him getting out disappeared.

However, in April, the Herald revealed that, despite the rumours, Pelley was still visiting her man and she was photographed on a weekend visit.

When approached outside the prison at the weekend, she refused to say whether she believed he was innocent.

However, sources have said O'Reilly has maintained his innocence to Pelley and his family.

The pair began a secret affair six months prior to the horrific murder.

During the 20-day trial, Pelley admitted having a "sexual relationship" with O'Reilly while he was married to Rachel.

Joe O'Reilly
Joe O'Reilly

"We talked about things. We talked about our future," she said at the time.

Although she was never a suspect for the crime, she was arrested twice on suspicion of withholding information that could have been relevant.

Pelley told the court that one of the words O'Reilly had called Rachel was a "wasp".

O'Reilly has always denied any involvement in the murder, but details of the crude emails sent by him revealed that he talked about how his greatest fear was becoming "Mr Weekend Custody".

The badly-beaten body of Rachel was found in the bathroom of her home by her mother.

Before he was charged with the brutal killing, O'Reilly had appeared on The Late Late Show to talk about Rachel's death.

Rachel died due to blunt-force trauma to the head, inhalation of blood, skull fracture and brain contusion.

O'Reilly later lost an appeal against his conviction, and in May 2015 the Court of Appeal refused his application to have his conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.

O'Reilly is now understood to be taking his case to the European Court of Justice in a final bid to have his conviction overturned.

Speaking to the Herald, Rachel's mother Rose (75) said she hopes she is long dead when O'Reilly is let out of prison.

"The only thing I hope is that I'm dead when he gets out," she said.

Rose and her husband, Jim, believe the stress of the tragedy caused the brain tumour that led to the death of Rachel's sister Ann.

"Her whole world was knocked upside down and he caused it," Rose said.

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