sinister past | 

Boyfriend who murdered mum Jennie Poole hid domestic abuse past by saying he had lived abroad

The family of murdered young mum are calling for a register of domestic abusers to be set up to prevent similar tragedy happening again

Jennie Poole

Patrick O'Connell

EVIL knife-killer Gavin Murphy hid his past as a domestic abuser from victim Jennifer Poole (24) when they met - by claiming he had been living abroad.

Instead of confessing to the devoted mother-of-two that he had been imprisoned in Mountjoy for attacking a previous partner and her mother with a knife, Murphy told carer Jennifer that he had been working away in Spain.

On Friday, Murphy (30) of Coultry Drive, Ballymun, Dublin, was given a mandatory life sentence, having pleaded guilty to murdering Jennifer in her apartment in Melville Drive, Finglas, last year by stabbing her seven times.

Today, in a heart-breaking interview with the Sunday World, Jennifer's brother Jason calls on Justice Minister Helen McEntee to meet with his family to discuss the creation of a 'domestic abusers register' that "could have saved my sister's life".

Gavin Murphy .Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

And he reveals how in the 12 months prior to Jennifer's death, evil Murphy's abuse had altered his sister from an outgoing, happy and confident mother building a future in caring for the elderly, into a woman who lived in fear and made up stories in advance to explain her bruises.

"They were only a year together," Jason said. "They met during lockdown.

"She had met him through a neighbour who was a cousin of his.

"And, as far as we know, Jennifer was told Gavin had been in Spain.

"But by listening to the evidence that came out in the court yesterday, it now appears he was actually in prison and had just gotten out.

David Poole holds a framed photo of his murdered sister, Jennie, as her family and friends gathered outside the Central Criminal Court. Photo: Collins Courts

"And that is an angry part of this for us.

"Because there were people who knew Gavin and knew what he had done to a previous partner and her mother and no-one warned Jennifer.

"Never once did someone say to her: 'This is the kind of person he is, you have two young children, be careful'.

"And that's why I think it is so important moving forward that there is a register created to record the names of people convicted of domestic violence, like there is for sex offenders.

"We know that Jennifer was injured and hurt by Gavin Murphy in the past.

"But she didn't know what his past was when she met him, or while this was happening to her.

"And I would love to meet with Helen McEntee about that.

"I would love for her to sit down with us and hear what we have to say.

"There is an elephant in the room in this country and it is domestic violence."

The coffin of Jennifer Poole arriving for her funeral at Saint Canice's Church, Finglas Village. Photographer: Leah Farrell /

Asked if there had been signs Jennifer was being abused by Murphy, Jason said he and his family had "seen bruises on Jennifer or marks on her body".

But he said when "we confronted her about them, she always had an explanation about where the bruise came from.

"It was like she had made up a story in advance in case we asked about them.

"We know now that's what people do when they live in fear - they make sure they have a story to hide what's really going on.

"Jennifer loved the gym, loved going out on her bike and was a member of Erin's Isle [GAA club] her whole life.

"But when she met Gavin Murphy, it was like it all just stopped.

A member of An Garda Síochána lays an Erin's Isle GAA club jersey at Melville Drive, Finglas where Jennie Poole was found with fatal injuries. Photo: Mark Condren

"And that's what narcissists do, they do this to their victims, so their victims don't speak out about what's happening or ask for help."

Speaking about his sister's life prior to her involvement with Murphy, Jason described her as "kind and caring person who devoted herself to others".

"Jennifer was a real people person and would have volunteered in youth clubs and in summer projects in the community for years," he said.

"She was always working to help others and then she worked as a carer going in and out of houses.

"And then she really found her feet working in a nursing home where she saw the same people every day, feeding them, helping them and seeing them progress or not progress in some cases.

"She loved that job.

"And she would always have stayed in that line in the future because that's where her interest lay … in helping others, and she was good at it."

Jason also told how his sister was utterly devoted to and protective of her son and daughter.

"She was so protective of them," he said with a sad laugh, "she might even have had them over-spoiled.

"But, in hindsight, they didn't have many years with her so what they did have was very special.

"The important part for the kids now is keeping her memory alive.

"What pictures we have, what videos, and memories, we share with them.

Clare and Jackie Poole, the sister and mother of Jennie, hold a framed photo of her outside Central Criminal Court. Photo: Collins Courts

"Because they love talking about her and are constantly talking about her."

Asked whether an apology offered by Gavin at the sentencing held any worth to him or his family, Jason said it did not.

"When you stab someone seven times and leave them with other injuries, I don't think an apology counts for anything," he said.

"He had time to think about what he was doing.

"And I hope the justice system in this country, when it comes times for him to go before a parole board, see this for what it was as a repeat offence.

"I hope the parole board does its job and protects other women from him into the future as well as Jennifer's children.

"We are already serving a life sentence.

"We will never get an opportunity, even in 20 years, to say stop … now bring Jennifer back.

"We'll never see her again.

"We are the one suffering the real life sentence here … not him."

Today's Headlines

More Courts

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos