Belfast Telegraph

Keep my Jean's killer in jail for ever because he'll do it again if freed, pleads mum of victim

By Donna Deeney

The mother of a pregnant woman murdered by her violent ex-partner has called for him to be kept behind bars for the rest of his life in order to protect others.

Emma McBride made the call yesterday - the day her daughter Jean Quigley should have celebrated her 38th birthday.

Instead, Ms McBride marked the occasion by laying flowers on the grave where Jean was buried after Stephen Cahoon savagely beat her at her home in Cornshell Fields, Londonderry.

Cahoon has been behind bars on remand since he was arrested in August 2008 for the murder until last week, when he was sentenced to life in prison at the end of his third trial for killing the mother-of-four.

The case made legal history - it was the first time someone has been tried in the Republic for a crime in Northern Ireland.

A retrial was ordered in 2009 after the jury failed to reach a verdict. The guilty verdict reached in the second trial in 2012 was overturned on appeal due to an error in the judge's instructions.

Ms McBride said the years since she found her daughter's battered and lifeless body have taken their toll on every member of the family, but the guilty verdict had brought some comfort.

She said: "No mother should have had to find their daughter the way I found Jean, and the only way to make sure no other mother ever will is to keep that man locked up for ever.

"I will have the image of the way I found my daughter with me till the day I die. That will never leave me.

"Every day we rise with the pain of missing her and knowing her children will have to grow up without her.

"He not only took Jean from me and her four children, but he took her unborn baby as well.

"We named him Kevin, a name Jean's oldest son Dillon chose because it was bothering him that his brother wasn't recognised (during the case), and on the headstone we have Jean and Kevin's names together.

"That man showed no remorse for what he did to my daughter or what he put us through in court.

"In fact, he showed no feelings at all in court.

"He sat with a stony face on him and I know that he would do it again. I am convinced of that.

"There is only one way to protect women from him and that is to keep him behind bars.

"He did it to other women before Jean, and one poor girl he left for dead in a field, so he will do it again if he ever gets out."

Ms McBride called for a register of people with a history of domestic abuse similar to the sex offenders register so that women who have concerns about a new partner can check their backgrounds.

She said: "If we had known what he was like, my daughter would still be alive and we would have spent the weekend celebrating three family birthdays.

"I never liked him. Call it a mother's instinct, but from the second I laid eyes on him I had a bad feeling.

"He told us his name was Stephen Moore when we met him, so from the start he was hiding things.

"If only we had known just what it was he was hiding. He wouldn't let Jean out of his sight. At times I asked Jean if she was happy, but he was always beside her, so she always said she was.

"Jean would have been 38 today. It was my birthday yesterday and my son's on Saturday but there is not much to celebrate. The only grain of comfort we have is knowing he is behind bars - and we pray that is where he will stay."

Belfast Telegraph


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