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Jean's death tore my heart out

Mother's relief that sadistic killer Cahoon finally convicted but says murder will haunt her for ever

By Staff Reporter

Published 05/12/2015

Emma McBride, mother of murdered Jean Quigley
Emma McBride, mother of murdered Jean Quigley
Pregnant Jean Quigley was murdered by Cahoon
Pregnant Jean Quigley was murdered by Cahoon

The mother of the Londonderry woman murdered by vicious sexual predator Stephen Cahoon told reporters yesterday she was "relieved" the depraved killer had finally been convicted for strangling her daughter.

Cahoon, who had a history of attacking women, murdered ex-girlfriend Jean Quigley (30) in 2008.

Mother-of-four Jean was pregnant with Cahoon's child when he battered her to death at her home in the Cornshell Fields area of the city.

Jean's beaten and bruised body was discovered by her mother Emma McBride.

Cahoon fled across the border afterwards but was apprehended by Garda in Donegal a week later. He admitted killing Jean but denied it was murder.

Speaking after Cahoon was convicted at Dublin's Central Criminal Court, Ms McBride told the BBC she still thought about her daughter every day.

"How does anybody assault a woman?" she asked. "The fact that I found Jean in the condition that I found her in... my heart was torn out.

"It is never going to leave me. It was very hard to sit in the trials. Even now I would walk the floor at night sometimes because I can't sleep."

The McBride family has endured seven years of anguish in their struggle to see justice done over Jean's murder.

This week saw the conclusion of Cahoon's third trial for the killing. He was first tried in 2009, but the jury at Dublin's Central Criminal Court failed to reach a verdict.

Cahoon was then retried, and in 2012 was convicted of Jean's murder.

But that conviction was later set aside on a legal technicality.

Cahoon, an unemployed labourer, successfully appealed his conviction on the basis that the trial judge had misdirected the jury while explaining the defence of provocation.

After that a third trial was ordered, and on Wednesday the jury at Dublin's Central Criminal Court found him guilty of murder.

"It's been horrific," Jean's sister Anne Marie Quigley told BBC's Evening Extra programme.

"But this is a good result. We had been worried he might have just got manslaughter, but he's been convicted of murder.

"It wasn't nice sitting across the courtroom from Cahoon, just looking at him and knowing what he had done to Jean."

Anne Marie added that because of the length of time it had taken to finally bring Cahoon to justice, she and the whole family had had to keep reliving the horror of Jean's death.

"I think of my sister all the time," said Anne Marie, her voice shaking with emotion.

"I still recall the night before she was murdered, when she came to see me. I still to this day see her sitting in the chair in the kitchen having a chat and a cup of tea. She was a good sister. She was a good laugh and was down to earth.

"But hopefully now we can put this behind us and move on as a family unit. But it's been seven years up until this point."

Anne Marie also told how, had her sister lived, Jean would have celebrated her 38th birthday next Monday.

"Thank God we got the verdict through before her birthday," she added.

Belfast Telegraph

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