New law call | 

Brother of murdered Dublin woman calls for domestic violence register to be established

“I believe that if that law was here then I would have been able to walk into a garda station and know her killer had done something like this before and be able to warn her”

Jenny Poole

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The brother of Jennifer Poole, who was murdered by her former partner, has called for new legislation so no other woman would experience what had happened to his sister.

Jason Poole said that if there had been the Irish equivalent of legislation in the UK called Clare’s Law (Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme) then Jennifer could have walked into a garda station to get information on the previous conviction of her partner Gavin Murphy.

Instead, Murphy hid his past as a domestic abuser from his victim 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.

In May, 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.

Jason Poole, speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, said that he and his family wanted to see the legislation introduced so no other family would have to go through what they had experienced, and no other woman would experience what had happened to Jennifer.

Jason Poole, brother of Jennie Poole, at her memorial garden in Beneavin Nursing Home in Finglas, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren

“On April 17, 2021 Jennifer was murdered by her ex-partner in her house in Melville in Finglas,” Jason recalled.

“Jennifer was 24 and she had two young children. On the day of the murder itself Jennifer had ended the relationship earlier that week with the killer. He contacted her that day to say that he needed a hot shower and Jennifer being the person that she is, the caring and kind person that she is said, ‘yeah that's no problem’.

“Jennifer left her home and she went off to do some shopping we believe, and then she returned to her home. And when she returned to her home within eight minutes Jennifer was dead.

“My sister and my mam also arrived when they didn't see Jennifer coming down to the family home and when they got there the fire brigade and the ambulance and guards were everywhere.

“Paramedics tried to work on her in the house for a number of minutes, 20 minutes, and then she was taken to Connolly Hospital. I had followed ambulance on the way and when I got to the hospital the doctor told me that Jennifer was dead.

“And then I had to break the news to the rest of my family. And before I left the hospital I needed to identify her body before it was taken to the city morgue.”

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

Jason said that before that horrific day they knew Jennifer had wounds and bruises that were consistent within a (domestic violent) relationship.

“She always covered them up because it was probably easier than having to deal with what was really going on,” Jason said.

“Or maybe it was the impact of what could have happened if she had told (what was going on).

“But on the day Jennifer ended up with 21 stab mounts in total and seven of them which were quite fatal.

“Jennifer had tried to get away, on a number of occasions, from Murphy,” he added.

“This time she had succeeded and we were very confident when we spoke to Jennifer on the Friday that she had ended the relationship.

“She went out with her friends for the first time in a long time for some milkshakes on the Friday night and then this happened on a Saturday. But when we were cleaning out her apartment, there wasn't even a toothbrush belonging to her killer in the house.

“She really had packed up and moved on.”

Jason said that: “Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors and for people who are in domestic violence relationships it's easier for them to cover it up than expose it. Because if they expose it then they're exposing themselves to further danger.

“Because what these people do is, they strip you down and then they build you up to the way they want you. Jennifer was at times excluded from her friends and family in this relationship.

“It was very hard to sit as a family and watch what was going on when you knew that it was easier nearly to say nothing to her,” he admitted.

“Because if he heard that you were confronting it he would imagine that it was her that was talking about it and then there would be incidents that would happen.

“And we know from reports and from witnesses that other incidents had happened that left her in hospital previously that we weren't aware of.”

Jason is now calling for a domestic violence register that would allow gardaí to disclose to a partner or family if somebody has a history of violence towards women.

“It’s a piece of legislation that's already in the UK under Clare’s Law and it's time for the Irish government now to act on this and have that same law here in Ireland,” he added.

“I believe that if that law was here then I would have been able to walk into a garda station and know her killer had done something like this before and be able to warn her.

“Or the guards would have been able to warn her or she would have been able to go herself when incidents of abuse were going on, and she would have been able to find out a little bit more about this person.”

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Justice Jim O’Callaghan said it was from conversations with Jason Poole that he realised how important the right to information was.

Under the proposed legislation gardaí would collate information on perpetrators of domestic violence. It would not just be people with convictions, there would also be information from the Pulse system and gardaí would have the discretion to provide information where there was the possibility of a threat to a new partner.

Mr O’Callaghan said that the gardaí were getting better at investigating domestic violence cases, so it was important that they be involved. He was working with the Minister for Justice “on this important and complex issue”.

Every political party had a responsibility to put forward proposals for the legislation which required a coherent response, he said.

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