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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 19 August, 2019

Irene White's terminally ill sister expresses 'dying wish' that murderers brought to justice

A second man was sentenced today for the murder of the mother-of-three at her home in Louth in 2005.

Irene White
Irene White

THE TERMINALLY ILL sister of murdered mother-of-three Irene White has described how her ‘dying wish’ was to see those responsible for her sister’s brutal murder brought to justice. 

A second man was sentenced to life in prison today, after admitting to the murder of Ms White in her Co Louth home 14 years ago. 

Niall Power (47), with an address at Giles Quay, Riverstown, Dundalk, Co Louth this morning pleaded guilty to the murder of Irene White (43) at Ice House, Demesne Road, Dundalk, Co Louth on 6 April 2005. 

In January 2018, historian Anthony Lambe (35), of Annadrumman, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, was jailed for life after he too pleaded guilty to the murder of Ms White in the kitchen of her home. 

Lambe had told investigating gardaí that he carried out the brutal murder after an individual had asked him to kill Ms White on behalf of someone else. He said he later received ”a relatively small sum of money” after stabbing Irene and cutting her throat. 

Power had presented himself at Dundalk Garda Station on the afternoon after Lambe was sentenced to life in prison. He appeared upset and asked to speak to a detective involved in the murder investigation.

The court heard victim impact statements today from Ms White’s sister and children this afternoon before Mr Justice Michael White imposed the mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, read out a victim impact statement prepared by Ms White’s sister, Anne Delcassian, who was too ill with terminal cancer to attend court.

She explained that her mother had died on Ms White’s birthday six months after finding her daughter murdered.

She said that it had taken the conviction of his accomplice for him to be finally charged.

“Over the last 15 years, you have been hiding like a coward,” she said, questioning how a family man could organise the ruthless murder of a single mother.

She said that her beautiful sister had been cruelly murdered and that this had caused enormous trauma and illness for her.

“I’m currently diagnosed with terminal cancer,” she said, explaining that she had only weeks to live.

“It’s my dying wish that you and all responsible are brought to justice,” she concluded.

‘Completely heartbroken’

Ms White’s daughter, Jennifer McBride, then entered the witness box to deliver a victim impact statement.

She said that the man standing before the court was not any stranger to her family but was at one time ‘a close family friend’, who had been welcomed into their home.

She described going to school as normal that morning, not knowing this would be her “last goodbye to my mam”. Their home had been filled with peace, tranquility, love and laughter in the months before the murder but that was to be short lived.

She was called out of class and told her mother had passed away. She felt shock, numbness. “I was completely heartbroken.”

Following her mother’s death she went to live with her grandmother and was separated from her two siblings, who went to live with their father. Then tragedy struck again when her grandmother died six months later “from a broken heart” having never recovered from finding Irene’s body. She was again left grieving and homeless.

She remembered her mother as a spiritual person who is often described by her many friends as the “life and soul of the party”. She remembered the many good times with her mother and felt guilt and sorrow that her younger siblings were robbed of those moments and their mother’s unconditional love.

She became emotional when recalling her journey to get access to her siblings the following year. She had seen this as a light at the end of the tunnel as she approached 18 years of age. She, her siblings and her young daughter share a strong bond, she said.

Mr Bowman told the court that he was instructed to offer his deepest apologies to all those who had been affected.

Mr Justice Michael White described the murder as ‘an unspeakable crime and a great tragedy’. He noted that the family had been waiting for justice for 14 years and was ‘still waiting’. He offered the family his deepest sympathies.

Power then stood and nodded as Justice White imposed on him the mandatory sentence of life in prison.

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About the author:

Natasha Reid and Alison O'Riordan

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