NewsCrime Desk

Outrage as man who killed mother and 2 daughters eligible for parole

Crime DeskBy Shuki Byrne
Sick: Brian Hennessy
Sick: Brian Hennessy

A postman who murdered a woman in her home before setting the building alight killing her two daughters is due for parole early next year.

Brian Hennessy strangled mother-of-two Sharon Whelan on Christmas morning in 2008 before torching the house to cover his tracks. 

In the ensuing fire, Sharon's daughters Zsara (7) and two-year-old Nadia were killed by carbon monoxide inhalation. 

The evil killer told gardai he did it to avoid his girlfriend finding out that he had sex with the victim.

"I just strangled her with my two hands around her neck," Hennessy told gardai. "I killed her in the living room."

Hennessy was convicted in 2009 after DNA evidence found at the house at Roscon, near Windgap, linked him with the killings. 

He said the children were asleep when he brought their mother's body into the bedroom.

"I sat on the bed. I didn't know what to do," he said. "I saw the kids. It made me more sad that I'd taken their mother away on Christmas.

"I don't know why I did it," he said about setting two fires. "I never thought about the children. I was worried about the murder."

He said he knew what he had done to the Whelan family was unbearable.

"I will never be able to cope with this so God help them," he said. "I'm so, so sorry. I don't know what else to say."

His remorse, however, has not stopped Hennessy and his legal team pursuing an appeal. He was convicted of three murders but a successful appeal meant he served all three sentences concurrently. 

Earlier this year, Sharon's brother John told of his concern that a person found guilty of a homicide could potentially be granted parole in seven years.

"We got a call to let us know that Brian Hennessy has been successful in his appeal," Mr Whelan said. "He is now only serving one life sentence and we are still waiting to find out which one he is serving. He is for parole this time next year.

"At the end of the day, one third of our family was wiped out in one night."

Speaking recently he said: “He is now serving one life sentence for the three murders and my question to the powers that be is, ‘Who is he serving the sentence for’.

“No one has ever told me or my parents which one – is it Sharon or Nadia or Zsara?

“It nullifies the value of the other two lives. This man has wiped out one third of our family in one night and now he can go for parole in February or March of next year.”

Mr Whelan and Advic (Advocates for victims of homicide Ireland), are campaigning for the minimum sentence for a murder to be raised to 15 years. 

''Nothing can bring Sharon and the girls back.

''Life is the most precious thing we have and those who choose to take it away deserve stronger sanctions.

"If someone makes a conscious decision to end that we must look at ourselves seriously as a country and as a modern society and say is it good enough for victims and their families that this is how we dealt with that? I don’t think it is.

''In the case of Sharon and the girls, a change in sentencing won’t make any difference as the law cannot be applied retrospectively but for the next family it could and changes in sentencing would make our society a safer place.''