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I forgive my husband's killers... but I may still leave this place as I just don't feel safe anymore

Widow's anguish after brothers behind brutal murder are sent to jail for 17 years

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 02/07/2016

Matthew Goddard’s wife Maureen and his mother at court yesterday
Matthew Goddard’s wife Maureen and his mother at court yesterday
Maureen and Matthew on their wedding day
The house at Chobham Street where Matthew’s body was found

The widow of murdered Belfast man Matthew Goddard - savagely beaten to death in his home - revealed yesterday that she fears for her safety in Northern Ireland.

Maureen Goddard was speaking after a court sentenced James and William Turner to prison terms of at least 17 years for the vicious murder in Chobham Street on December 23, 2014.

In a brutal assault the brothers battered nine stone Mr Goddard with their fists, boots and an electric guitar before taking turns to stamp on his head as he lay dying at the bottom of the stairs inside his small terraced house.

During the attack, which lasted around 10 minutes, the Belfast brothers made their 41-year-old victim crawl on all fours, apologising for an alleged comment he made about James Turner being "a sandwich short of a picnic".

Mr Goddard - whose body was discovered wrapped in a curtain at the bottom of the stairs the following evening - is believed to have been alive when the Turner brothers and co-accused Christian Walker left the property.

Passing sentence yesterday, Mr Justice Treacey said that prior to the murder the Turners had consumed drink and cocaine.

The judge said William Turner later admitted that it was his intention that night to "go round and give Matt a good slap" for the comment he allegedly made about James Turner.

Co-accused Walker - who was with the Turners during the murder but did not participate - provided a false alibi for them.

He claimed that on the evening of the killing he had been drinking and playing computer games with the brothers and they were all in each other's company from 8pm until 3pm the following day.

He received an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Mr Goddard's widow sat in the public gallery of Belfast Crown Court watching the Turners being sentenced.

Later the grieving woman revealed that she had forgiven the killers.

Due to her Christian faith, she said she had found it within herself to forgive William and James Turner, but said their judgement will come "when they meet their maker".

She also said it "was an honour" to be Matt's wife.

Mrs Goddard revealed the electric guitar the Turner brothers broke while beating Matt was a Christmas present.

She said: "He never played a musical instrument. He got that guitar as a present - and was just starting to learn to play it."

Revealing that her husband was a "wonderful" stepfather to her two children, Mrs Goddard said she still expected to pick up her phone and see texts from him.

She also said that now her husband was dead she may return to live in England as she is fearful her "protector" had gone. She now carries a panic button with her and "feels very unsafe".

Mrs Goddard, who is originally from Zimbabwe, first met Matt in 2001 when they both living in England, and in 2006 they moved to Belfast as Matt "wanted to come back home".

She said Matt had a "very good sense of humour", was a "very happy person", and was very protective of his family.

But she was still traumatised by the violence of the death inflicted on him, she added.

Mrs Goddard said she only found out last Friday in court that her husband was still alive when the Turners and Walker left the house.

She said: "How humiliating must it have been for Matt to have been made to crawl and apologise.

"Matt was such a fragile person, he was only around nine stone. If you pushed him he would have fallen over.

"I keep telling myself that what happened to Matt really didn't happen, that he's still alive and he's coming home.

"I love him and miss him every day and I just feel so alone now. I never even got the chance to say goodbye to him.

"It was an honour to have been his wife."

Belfast Telegraph

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