Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Derry mum wants safe house as Caroline memorial

The mother of a Londonderry woman brutally killed by her husband 10 years ago has today called for a safe house to be built as a permanent memorial to her daughter.

Mother-of-three Caroline Crossan's image has become iconic in the battle against domestic violence after she was bludgeoned to death by her husband John in October 1997.

Her mother Bridie McGrellis has campaigned tirelessly since her daughter's death and even helped organise 'Caroline's Day' with Women's Aid - a special event to help support the victims of domestic violence and promote information for sufferers.

Speaking on the eve of her daughter's anniversary, Mrs McGrellis said today that the anniversary was "a nightmare".

"It's like she died yesterday," she said. "If we get Thursday over with, that's what I'm worried about, it's just heartbreaking.

"I would love to have a permanent memorial to her, if I had the money. If we had a safe house or a refuge, that would be very fitting. Just something or somewhere that women could take that first step for help.

"What Women's Aid are doing here is brilliant and it has been a comfort that Caroline's story has helped others.

"I have had women on my doorstep, asking me to help. The refuge that Women's Aid has in the city is fantastic, and it would be great if we could do more.

"Every last penny I had, I would give it to them."

Crossan is currently serving a life sentence for Caroline's murder, with a recommended minimum of 15 years to be spent behind bars. His trial heard how he had struck her several times with a poker-like object before setting her alight with cooking oil to try and hide evidence of what he had done.

The family's torment continued when, in 2000, several years after Caroline's death, parts of her skull, which had been found on the kitchen floor, were returned to them by the authorities.

An anniversary Mass for Caroline will be said by Fr Ciaran Page at St Brigid's in Carnhill tomorrow at 7.30pm.

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