NewsCrime Desk

Vanished without a trace

Crime DeskBy Niall Donald
TRAGIC: Anna and Vese
TRAGIC: Anna and Vese

THE sister of a pretty Dublin mum who was stabbed to death has pleaded for information about the whereabouts of her alleged killer, saying: “We just want justice to be done.”

Last year, a bench warrant was issued for Kosovan national Vesel Jahiri after he disappeared during a high-profile murder trial.

At the time, Jahiri (34), was charged with the murder of his former partner Anna Finnegan (25), who died after suffering stab wounds at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin, on September 21, 2012.

The court heard that ex-child soldier Jahiri had been in a relationship with Anna since they were teenagers, but the pair had recently had an acrimonious split. 

Vesel Jahiri

However, days before the verdict was due in the trial last July, Jahiri vanished into thin air and has not been seen by the Finnegan family since.

In his absence, the jury failed to reach a verdict and a retrial was ordered. Jahiri is due to be arrested on sight by the gardai.

Speaking to the Sunday World, Lisa Finnegan – 

Anna’s older sister – said she has been left in “limbo” because her family have not been able to get closure.

“We are in no-man’s land. It’s like Anna never existed – it feels like everyone has forgotten about her.

“The last time Vesel was seen was that day in court. There have been no official sightings since. We have heard that he is everywhere from Blanchardstown, Swords to Rathoath, but he may also be out of the country, we don’t know.

“We are appealing to anyone who has any information to contact the gardai. We are currently working like dogs to get a reward together. We just want justice to be done.

That is the only way we will ever get peace.”

Last August, a total of €10,000 in bail, put up by a Co. Louth businessman on Jahiri’s behalf, was taken by the state.

A source said gardai are “anxious” to trace the former refugee and are pursuing a number of lines of enquiry.

Jahiri had denied murdering Anna at the original trial.

The Central Criminal Court heard how Anna and Jahiri had been in a 10-year relationship that had “deteriorated dramatically”.

Anna had met him when he came to Ireland as a refugee in 2001. At the time, she was just 15 years old and was living in the family home in Castleknock in west Dublin.

The court heard the pair had two young children together and “access had become more than a thorny subject”.

Jahiri admits confronting Anna and clashing with her brother Karl on the night of her death, but denies stabbing her to death.

It was alleged in court that on September 21, 2012, Jahiri forced his way into her home through the front door. There was an altercation with her brother Karl, who was stabbed in the chest and head.

Anna fled in distress, but collapsed on the roadside. She had received a single stab wound. Jahiri took her to hospital and dropped her at the entrance to the emergency department.

He later presented himself to gardai, but he denied stabbing Anna.

Lisa said her sister’s death has had a devastating impact on her family.

“Anna was a very gentle person, she was very soft. I don’t think there would be a single person in this world who would have a bad word to say about her.“Her kids don’t even remember her now – they were too young when she died. It’s a tragedy”

The court heard Anna had come into contact with social services to help her with access arrangements for her children − who were just nine months and two when their mother was killed.

Karl Finnegan told the court that on the night of her death he was having tea with his sister when they “heard a bang” coming from the front door.

The court has heard that Jahiri accepts he forced open the door, but claims Mr Finnegan had two knives in the kitchen. 

Jahiri claims he obtained one of the knives and stabbed Mr Finnegan in the head and chest in self-defence and that he had “no hand, act, or part in stabbing his former partner”. 

Mr Finnegan said Jahiri arrived at the house with a knife and attacked him before chasing his sister.

In closing arguments, the prosecution said the physical evidence of his frame of mind on the day was “utterly overwhelming” because he had smashed his way through a front door.

Prosecuting Counsel Patrick Marrinan said this was compelling evidence on which he could be convicted of murder.

However, the defence said the medical evidence suggested the jury could not exclude the possibility that Ms Finnegan was stabbed when she got between two people fighting with knives.

Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan said the jury should first consider the manner in which she may have received the single stab wound.

“It only becomes murder if the person intended to kill or cause serious injury,” he said.

The trial has held in Mr Jahiri’s absence.

The jury was told this should not affect its deliberations and they should not draw any inference from his absence.