Belfast Telegraph

Joleen is at peace, says mother after attack victim dies

By David Young and Cate McCurry

The heartbroken mother of Joleen Corr has said her daughter is now "at peace".

The 27-year-old passed away on Thursday, 16 months after she was severely injured in an assault at her home in Downpatrick, Co Down.

She suffered severe brain injuries which left her in a vegetative state.

Joleen's grieving family had gathered together as they prepared to say their final goodbyes.

She died in the Northern Ireland Hospice after a landmark court judgment ruled that treatment sustaining her life should be withdrawn due to the pain she was suffering.

She passed away in her mother Carol's arms on Thursday.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "I know Joleen is at peace now; I just feel numb. I just keep telling myself: 'It's not real. It's not real'.

"And then there are times that the reality of it just hits me."

A green gazebo decorated with butterflies had been erected in the little garden in front of the house yesterday.

Inside, Joleen's body lay in a white coffin in the front room.

A steady stream of family and friends called at the small terrace house in Beechmount in west Belfast to pay their respects.

A small table next to the coffin bore a framed photograph of the beautician and mother. Two candles burned in front of her picture.

"I'm trying to be strong, and keep strong," added Carol.

"But where my children are concerned, I am looking out to see if they are all right. I can see they are hurting too. They're all hurting."

Carol's other daughters and son - Cherie, Chloe, Christine and Jim - were all with their sister at the end.

"Joleen was the eldest, and they looked up to Joleen," Carol added. "She was their big sister.

"They feel as if they let her down. But we've done our best for her."

Michael O'Connor (32) is on remand in prison awaiting trial for the attempted murder of Ms Corr and for grievous bodily harm.

O'Connor, originally from west Belfast but currently in Maghaberry Prison, denies the charges.

Yesterday it emerged that, following Joleen's death, the Public Prosecution Service was reviewing the charges against O'Connor.

A spokeswoman said: "We have been informed of the very sad news of the death of the victim in this case. The attempted murder charge currently against a 32-year-old man is now to be reviewed.

"We will continue to keep the victim's family informed of all significant developments in this case."

But, for the moment, Carol is trying to focus on the heartrending task of burying her daughter.

"I was informed that when Jolene passed away that he (O'Connor) would be rearrested, with a different charge. But I don't know what charge that's going to be," she said.

"We're concentrating on spending these last days with Joleen at the wake, and then giving her a good send-off."

Only after that, Carol said, will she be able to think about the trial of the man accused of attacking Joleen. "We have all that ahead of us. We want justice for Joleen," she added.

The funeral will be held next Tuesday at St Peter's Church in Cavendish Street, off the Falls Road.

Belfast Telegraph

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