| 17.1°C Dublin

heartbreaking Anne Colomines' family reveal abuse she endured from murderer husband

"He killed my daughter, after six years of humiliating her"

Close

Mother Danielle and sister Alexandra with photos of Anne Colomines

Mother Danielle and sister Alexandra with photos of Anne Colomines

Mother Danielle and sister Alexandra with photos of Anne Colomines

Murdered PayPal worker Anne Colomines was subjected to six years of abuse by killer husband Renato Gehlen before he took her life by stabbing her in the heart, her family have revealed.

They detail how control freak Gehlen, who was found guilty of Anne's murder on Wednesday, used psychological and verbal abuse to grind the 37-year-old down - making their formerly "joyful" daughter and sister "a little less shiny each year".

In a heartbreaking interview, Anne's mum, Danielle, told us how just days after Gehlen knelt before her at the couple's 2014 wedding and vowed "he would protect her all of his life", friends heard him warn Anne: "You belong to me now."

And worse was to come over the course of their three-year-marriage as the Brazilian native:

  • Would not tolerate his more successful wife wearing make-up, heels or dresses;
  • Constantly derided her as "fat" and "ugly";
  • Twisted her by the ear "to correct her behaviour";
  • And said he was "wasting his life with her" after the couple learned she would need in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to get pregnant.

"There is nothing more we can do for Anne," heartbroken mum Danielle (75) said on Friday evening, before flying home to France.

"All that is left for us now is to try and warn other women. To tell them if they are in a situation like Anne's, are with a partner like him, leave now.

"He killed my daughter, after six years of humiliating her every day even though he was living at her expense, because she was finally going to leave him. He was going to lose her, his possession, so he wanted to punish her.

"There was nothing but hate in that act."

Close

Anne Colomines had told Gehlen she was leaving him

Anne Colomines had told Gehlen she was leaving him

Anne Colomines had told Gehlen she was leaving him

Danielle and Anne's sister, Alexandra, sat through the entirety of Gehlen's trial.

During the case, graphic details emerged of her murder in the couple's Dorset Square apartment on October 24, 2017, as well as the ludicrous excuses Gehlen offered in a vain attempt to escape justice.

Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan testified that she found four stab wounds to Anne's torso, a 22cm incised wound to her throat and six incisions on her hands, consistent with defensive injuries. One of the stab wounds was 20cm deep and passed through the heart, causing her death.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Arrested after the murder, Gehlen claimed to gardaí that Anne had stabbed herself following a row over her decision to leave him and start a new life with a French boyfriend.

He claimed she fell as they struggled and that she then used the knife to stab herself in the abdomen and in the middle of the chest.

He told detectives that he then tried to kill himself because Anne was his family.

But his "ridiculous and insulting" excuses were rejected by the jury, which agreed Gehlen had displayed the "ultimate in toxic masculinity" by stabbing his wife to death in an effort to control the end of their marriage.

"We knew he was going to smear her," Danielle said.

"The joyful moment for me during the trial came when I knew that the judge and the jury saw the truth and recognised him for what he was."

Close

Murderer Renato Gehlen

Murderer Renato Gehlen

Murderer Renato Gehlen

Danielle and Alexandra told how Anne decided to move to Ireland in January of 2012 following the death of her best friend in a car accident in France.

"Anne was somebody who was so joyful and funny," Danielle said sadly. "She studied law, had several diplomas and had run her own real estate agency."

Tragically, within an hour of landing in Ireland, Anne met the man who would steal her confidence, her sense of self-esteem and, ultimately, her life from her.

"Her friend's boyfriend came to collect her at the airport and Renato was in the car with him," Danielle said.

Alexandra added: "And Anne was vulnerable because of the tragedy with her friend - she was looking for someone nice and he came across as warm and caring."

The couple took part in a civil union in Dublin in 2012, and in September of 2014 they celebrated their marriage in a religious ceremony in Courcoury in France - a stone's throw from Anne's family home in Saintes.

Recalling her daughter's wedding, heartbroken Danielle said: "At the end of the ceremony, Renato came to kneel in front of me. He told me that he would always take care of Anne, that he would protect her all his life."

"Those were his words; he would protect her all of his life. I welcomed him as my own child and he betrayed me in the worst way possible."

Just two days after the ceremony in Courcoury, Gehlen exposed his true nature at a dinner with one of Anne's friends.

As Anne and her pal discussed former friends, Gehlen angrily told her: "The past is over - you belong to me now."

Because Anne and Gehlen were living in Dublin, Danielle and Alexandra say it was not until after her murder that they were able to piece together the extent of the abuse he inflicted on her in the following years.

Alexandra said: "We noticed she was changing the way she dressed and was not as expressive as she once was - but I think she was trying to protect us from knowing about him.

"She mentioned sometimes that he was sulky and that he wouldn't speak to her for three or four days, but it wasn't until after she died we found out the violent speech.

"He would say things to her like she was fat and ugly, that she didn't need make-up because it wouldn't make things any better.

"If they were crossing the road and she strayed off the zebra crossing he would grab her by the ear and twist it, like she was a child."

The abuse only got worse after the couple learned Anne would have to go through IVF to have a child.

This was, Alexandra said, unbearable for Gehlen, who told his wife he was wasting his life with her.

"He was very against her after that," she said.

In the weeks before Anne's murder, the French woman finally told Gehlen she was going to leave him. Anne spent the 14 days before her death in Charente-Maritime - on the south-west coast of France.

On Monday, October 23, 2017, Anne flew back to Dublin before resuming her work as a senior executive with PayPal. That evening she was stabbed to death by Gehlen.

The jury accepted the prosecution's contention that Gehlen displayed the "ultimate in toxic masculinity" by stabbing his wife to death.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath will hand down the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment on October 22.

"I hope he spends the rest of his life in jail," said Alexandra. "Because if he gets out, he may well do this to another woman."

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


Privacy