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Sunday 26 March 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Sasko Lazarov/
# baby joshua
'Come back Joshua': Mother delivers impact statement as father sentenced to life for murdering baby
The jury had deliberated for over seven and a half hours before reaching a verdict.

Updated 5.11pm

JOHN TIGHE HAS been found guilty of murdering his infant son by a unanimous jury verdict at the Central Criminal Court.

Tighe (40) of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo had pleaded not guilty to murdering six-and-a-half-month old Joshua Sussbier Tighe at his home on 1 June 2013.

The jury of nine women and three men returned at 3pm Friday afternoon after seven hours and 32 minutes of deliberation to deliver their verdict.

Tighe sat motionless following the verdict and attempted to speak to Joshua’s mother Natasha Sussbier after she delivered an impact statement in which she detailed the trauma she has suffered since her son’s death. She walked past him without speaking.

In her statement she told prosecuting counsel Paul Murray SC that John had controlled her, lied to her face and that she finally realised he was not telling the truth when members of her family showed her the medical evidence that proved Joshua did not die accidentally.

She asked: “How can someone be so heartless as to lie to my face about something so serious?”

Following the death of her son, her “pride and joy”, she said she had never experienced such heartache and anger. She can still feel the coldness of her baby’s hand as he lay lifeless in Tighe’s home and she begged him: “Come back Joshua! Don’t leave mummy here.”

Every time she visits his grave, she remembers her baby boy being put into the ground.

Following Joshua’s death, she said she didn’t want to believe that John was responsible and although there was never the same trust between them, she went back to him. She said it was always in the back of her mind, “what really happened?”.

She should have “copped on”, she said, but John convinced her and tried to turn her against the people who were helping her. She was just 17 when they first met and she believes that her age made her vulnerable and that he controlled her.

When she heard the medical evidence she was afraid and didn’t want to believe it, but finally she realised that something sinister had happened. She said she still has questions over Joshua’s death and that only John Tighe knows what happened to her boy.

Following her statement Justice Patrick McCarthy addressed Tighe and told him: “As prescribed by law I hereby sentence you to prison for life.”

Tighe had always maintained that his son’s death was accidental, telling gardaí that he had carelessly left a wad of tissue within the baby’s reach while he went to the toilet.

When he returned, he said the baby was choking and must have put the wad into his own mouth.

The prosecution called expert witnesses who said that the child could not have formed or swallowed the wad, which was removed from the child’s throat during post-mortem.

It consisted of two pieces of scrunched-up tissue paper from different boxes, weighed 19 grams and measured 5cm by 3.5cm by 2.5cm.

Eoin Reynolds & Alison O'Riordan
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