NewsCrime Desk

"They didn't know if it was rape or necrophilia, so they didn't proceed with sex charge"

Joyce Quinn
Joyce Quinn

The husband of a mother-of-three who was raped and murdered has spoken of his anger that her killer will soon be free but will not be flagged as a sex offender.

Kenneth O'Reilly was 22 when he thumbed a lift from local shop owner Joyce Quinn (44) on the outskirts of Kildare town on January 23, 1996.

He told her to stop the car, stabbed her in the heart and drove the car to a secluded location before raping her and stabbing her in the neck.

O'Reilly pleaded guilty to murdering Joyce Quinn but he was never charged with sexual assault and rape - a fact that has angered her heartbroken husband Ray Quinn.

"Rape was his primary motive, yet when he gets out there will be women who weren't even born at the time Joyce was killed who will have no idea of his sex crime," said Mr Quinn.

"O'Reilly is not flagged as a sex offender after he gets out. He should have been charged with the sex crime.

"The prosecution team told me beforehand that they didn't know if Joyce was alive or dead when O'Reilly sexually attacked her, so they didn't know if it was rape or necrophilia, so they didn't proceed with a sex charge," he added.

O'Reilly's trial heard that the wound to her chest penetrated her heart, meaning that at the time he raped her Joyce was either dying or already dead.

O'Reilly, a customer of Joyce's, had been watching her movements for most of that evening and was carrying a small bag in which was hidden a boning knife from his days at the local meat factory.

The following morning, two neighbours discovered Joyce's semi-naked body during a search of commonage 100 feet from the Milltown-Kildare road opposite Cill Dara Golf Club.

Retired Colonel Ray Quinn (66) told the Herald that he still feels rage, thinking about his wife's murder, any time he visits her grave.

O'Reilly, who lived near Joyce's shop, had gone out with the intention of rape, but killed Joyce so she could not identify him.

O'Reilly has served nearly 20 years for Joyce's murder, and while no official release date has been confirmed, he is receiving more regular day releases from Mountjoy Prison's Training Unit. These arrangements come into place as inmates reach the end of their sentence.

In the aftermath of Mrs Quinn's death, her three children Nicole, Lisa and David found it very tough, according to their father.

Kenneth O'Reilly

"The first number of Christmas holidays were absolutely miserable, she was the heart of our home and everything focused around her," he said.

"As time went on with the children's weddings, it would be silly to say they weren't distressing. You're thinking, why isn't she here. It was the brutality of the way she was taken. It was so senseless.

"The one I worried most about was David. He was a very bubbly and he became very quiet - he was distraught and physically ill afterwards.

"Lisa wouldn't visit the cemetery for many years. For the first couple of years it was her way of blanking it out," he added.

Visiting the cemetery still proves difficult for Mr Quinn.

"It'd be absolutely untruthful to say that when I visit the cemetery that I don't feel the sense of terrible emptiness and sadness but also rage. That has not gone away at all," he said.

The family have planted an oak tree at the spot where Joyce's body was dumped in furze bushes..

Joyce was the daughter of Cmmdt Tommy Wickham who was on duty with the United Nations at the disputed Golan Heights when war broke out between Israel and its Arab neighbours, Egypt, Jordan and Syria. He was shot dead on his way to relieve UN observers at the Golan Heights at the start of the Six-Day War in June 1967.