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Life sentence Killer jailed for murder of "loving" mum showed no remorse, court hears


Sean Nolan and Amanda Carroll

Sean Nolan and Amanda Carroll

Sean Nolan and Amanda Carroll

A murderer who strangled his partner of three months in her own bed was today addressed directly by his victim's sister, who told him: "May God have no mercy on your soul".

Sandra Carroll delivered an emotional victim impact statement at the Central Criminal Court, where Sean Nolan was jailed for life for the murder of her sister Amanda Carroll.

Earlier, another of the victim's sisters, Antoinette Carroll, also addressed Nolan from the witness box, raising her voice to tell him: "I can say as a family if we got the word sorry or showed a little remorse, it might make the huge loss a little bit easier".

Nolan then interjected from the dock and replied: "I am sorry".

At this point, another of victim Amanda Carroll's sisters began crying aloud in the body of the courtroom and the judge directed that the court rise for 15 minutes.

Nolan (36), with an address at Ashington Crescent, Navan Road in Dublin was convicted last week by a majority jury verdict of the murder of Ms Carroll (33) in her apartment at Homestead Court, Quarry Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 on October 21, 2018.

The electrician had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to her manslaughter.

It emerged during the trial that the couple had met three months previously on the Tinder dating app and Nolan had gotten Amanda Carroll's name tattooed on his hand, while she had his name tattooed on her chest.

The trial heard they had gone on a "binge drinking session" at different locations throughout Dublin on the day Ms Carroll died.

Detective Inspector Aidan Flanagan today agreed with prosecuting counsel, Shane Costelloe SC, that Ms Carroll's family had expressed their "sadness and disappointment" arising out of the criminal proceedings, which they said did not portray the full picture of the deceased.

Mr Costelloe said that Ms Carroll was a "loving mother, wonderful sister and valued family member", who was involved in the care of her father and cared for her two children.

"The family of Ms Carroll were very anxious for this to be communicated to the court and that she shouldn't just be viewed through the prism of what happened on October 21," he highlighted.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath today sentenced Nolan to the mandatory term of life imprisonment for murdering the mother-of-two.

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The sentence was backdated to October 21 2018, when he went into custody.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice MacGrath said that the senseless death of Ms Carroll had brought "great tragedy", grief and sadness to her family and all who knew her.

The victim impact statements read to the court showed how much she was loved as a mother, daughter, sister and friend and how much she will be greatly missed by all but not more so than her two children, said the judge.

Mr Justice MacGrath said Dennis Carroll had given evidence in the trial and it had struck him that he was a young man of great courage and there was no doubt that he and his younger brother will greatly miss their mother.

He extended the court's sympathies to all the members of Ms Carroll's family and friends.

The accused and Ms Carroll were involved in a road traffic collision a few hours before the 33-year-old was killed and both fled the scene before being intercepted.

Nolan's bloods were taken as there was a concern he was drink driving or drug driving. However, after being detained in Mountjoy Garda Station for a couple of hours, the pair's drinking session continued into the night.

When the couple returned to Ms Carroll's apartment that night, Nolan put one hand on the neck of the mother-of-two and the other over her mouth after he said she called him by the name of her ex-boyfriend, said she never loved him and tried to hit him.

"I was angry. I just wanted her to go asleep and stop," Nolan had told gardai.

The jury rejected the defence contention that Nolan was too drunk to have formed the intent to murder his girlfriend Ms Carroll and what had happened to the mother-of-two was an "accidental death".

In his victim impact statement, Dennis Carroll said that his mother was the "only ma" he had and will ever have and what had happened to her broke him mentally and physically.

"She didn't deserve to die like this. My ma was a great character. She was so funny and had a funny laugh, you could talk to my ma about anything and she would do anything to possibly help you," he said.

Ms Carroll's body was discovered in the bedroom of her apartment over two years ago by her then 16-year-old son Dennis Carroll who had left the house that morning to play football not knowing that his mother was dead.

"I emotionally broke down and I had to go to counselling because I had to talk to someone about me ma especially when I found her dead in her bedroom that will never leave my mind and it has changed my life, it had a big impact on me and my family [sic]," said Dennis.

"She was a kind-hearted person. She had great dignity and she was the woman that guided my through my life on her own. I idolise my mother."

His mother's death had a big impact on his mental health and he became really depressed, he said. "I'm not the same after I left my mother. My little brother is seven and I love him and it was so hard for him knowing that his mother is not there anymore," he said.

He added: "I now have a son that only went one and my ma was a grandmother to be and that had been tragically taken away from her to see her grandson. I think about my ma all the time."

Dennis said his mother "didn't deserve this" and no human being should ever be killed by strangulation. "I wish I could have one more chat with her. I couldn't even get the chance to thank her for the man she made me into.

"My brother misses her and talks about her all the time. My son will never get to see his grandmother and it kills me every day knowing that. When I lost my mother it was like I lost half of me that day," he said.

Ms Carroll's sister, Antoinette Carroll, also entered the witness box during Nolan's sentence hearing to deliver a second victim impact statement on behalf of her family.

Antoinette said her world "totally fell apart" on October 21, when her phone rang and she was told that her "baby sister and best friend" Amanda was "brutally taken out of this world".

"My first reaction was disbelief and total shock. I gathered my thoughts as to how I would tell my father that his beautiful baby daughter was dead," she said.

When she told her father that Amanda was dead, Antoinette said all she could remember was her dad screaming and roaring.

"As the hours and days passed we as a family had the most awful decision to make. About the care for Amanda's two most beautiful boys. It was a very easy decision to make as we all wanted the boys to be kept in the family," she said.

Antoinette, who took her sister's youngest son into her care, said that it is "so wonderful to know" that they have some of Amanda with them each and every day.

During Antoinette's victim impact statement, a friend of Ms Carroll's family roared "you bastard ya" at Nolan and another one shouted out "have a nice trip".

Antoinette turned around to the accused in the dock, raising her voice to directly address him: "I miss my baby sister, best friend beyond words. I can say as a family if we got the word sorry or showed a little remorse, it might make the huge loss a little bit easier."

Nolan then interjected and said from the dock: "I am sorry".

At this point, one of Ms Carroll's other sisters began crying out loud in the body of the courtroom and the judge directed that the court rise for 15 minutes.

Another one of Ms Carroll's sisters, Sandra Carroll, read a third victim statement to the court saying that the "last fondest and cherished memory" of her beautiful sister was when she rubbed her [Sandra's] belly saying that she could not wait to meet her baby girl who was due to be born on December 5.

Sandra said she never had to take antidepressants in her life and she had no choice but to ask her doctor to prescribe them in order to deal with "nightmares, uncontrollable anxiety and the awful flashbacks of what happened to Amanda."

Sandra began to raise her voice as she looked in the direction of Nolan and shouted: "I live in constant fear that the same thing will happen to my sons and daughters.

"Maybe if me and my family had heard the word sorry or felt remorse, this terrible blow would be softened a tiny little bit and might make life a little bit more bearable."

"No more holidays, nights out, no more birthdays, Christmas, first communions, confirmations, christenings as a family unit. The brightest light of us all has been blown out but the same light Amanda will forever be lighting in our hearts," she continued.

Sandra finished her statement by shouting at the accused: "May God have no mercy on your soul". Members of Ms Carroll's family in the courtroom responded to this statement by standing up to clap.

Michael O'Higgins SC, defence counsel for Nolan, said his client wanted to express his deep regret and remorse for what had happened to Ms Carroll and the "terrible ongoing consequences" for her family and friends.

He said it was correct that no apology had been given during the course of the trial but there was no premise upon which that could have been done.

He said Nolan was hugely regretful for the actions he had carried out, "would do anything to turn back the clock", was flooded with guilt and did not blame anyone but himself.

Earlier, Det Insp Aidan Flanagan told the court that Nolan has 11 previous convictions including a public order offence, a drink driving offence and minor road traffic matters.

As the court rose and Nolan was led away by prison officers, members of Ms Carroll's family shouted at him: "Rot in hell you monster" and "Have a nice trip".

Speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice today, Amanda Carroll's brother, Gerard Carroll said: "We don't care about sorry. He [Sean Nolan] took her away.

"There will be no forgiveness on our side of the family towards him. He has been put away and he needs to be kept off the streets. If he ever gets out he has the potential to reoffend, that is our belief."

"It has been heart-wrenching. I feel like this puts closure on it as a family and we can move forward. It has been extremely hard for my father and it hasn't been easy for her two children. But as a family we always stick together and get through hard times and this will be no different," he continued.

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