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vicious attack Woman stabbed 20 times by a monster who killed her best friend to relive the horror on TV

Peter Whelan was handed a 15-year sentence for the attempted murder of Sinead O’Leary.

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Pictured (L-R): Sinead O'Leary Nichola Sweeney were victims of Peter Whelan

Pictured (L-R): Sinead O'Leary Nichola Sweeney were victims of Peter Whelan

Pictured (L-R): Sinead O'Leary Nichola Sweeney were victims of Peter Whelan

A woman stabbed 20 times by a monster who killed her best friend is to relive the horror on TV next week.

Sinead O’Leary will reveal how she and Nichola Sweeney were getting ready for a night out in 2002 when their world was destroyed forever by evil Peter Whelan.

He broke into Nichola’s home and began a frenzied and unprovoked knife attack on the two young women which left one dead and the other fighting for her life.

Survivor Sinead, who was 19 at the time of the attack, will retell the horrific story on TG4’s Finné next Wednesday as part of a campaign to keep evil Whelan behind bars.

She and Nichola’s family were horrified to discover the murderer, who has made several applications for parole despite getting a life sentence, had been allowed out of prison on supervised family visits.

Sinead has been fighting for justice for Nichola as well as struggling to get her life back together.

Sinead, now 37, has revealed the full horror of that fateful night on April 27 2002 on the CrimeLapse podcast.

The two girls had planned to watch TV in Nichola’s home in Rochestown, Cork, while her parents were away for the weekend in London but decided to head into town at the last minute.

Sinead was sitting on Nichola’s bed putting on makeup a little before 11pm while her 20-year-old friend was in the bathroom when suddenly a man appeared at the bedroom door.

For a second Sinead thought it might be a friend of one of Nichola’s brothers but he launched a ferocious attack on her.

“He threw me on to the ground. He did not speak, he just had this really intense angry expression on his face,” she said.

“I screamed to Nichola as he was stomping on me. She came out and was screaming at him to stop and he turned to her and looked at her really menacingly and lifted up his shirt to show two knives tucked into his belt and to show her what he was about to do.

“He still didn’t say anything, just pulled out the knife and started stabbing down on top of me.

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Peter Whelan on the day he pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder of Nichola Sweeney and Sinead O'Leary in 2002

Peter Whelan on the day he pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder of Nichola Sweeney and Sinead O'Leary in 2002

Peter Whelan on the day he pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder of Nichola Sweeney and Sinead O'Leary in 2002

“Nichola was screaming. It was all fast and furious and she was begging him to stop. The knife was coming down on my stomach and my chest.”

Sinead put her arms up to protect her body and the knife was going in one side of her limbs and coming out the other.

“He was watching Nichola as if he was enjoying her reaction,” said Sinead.

“He launched at her then. The blade had broken in my arm so he lunged with the other knife towards Nichola.”

As Nichola tried to lock herself in the bathroom Sinead realised she would somehow have to get to a phone and call for help.

“I had three stab wounds in my chest, two in the stomach and my arms were really bad in a lot of different places.

“I ran to her parents’ room and then kept going, down the stairs with blood everywhere, it was squirting out of my arm.”

Sinead locked herself in a downstairs bathroom and then heard the man walk past the door. She came out into the darkness not knowing if he was still there and ran to her friend.

“Nichola was face down on the floor moaning. I sat with her and told her I had to go for help. I told her everything would be okay.”

Sinead found Nichola’s mobile phone and rang the police, the ambulance service and then her parents who all rushed to the scene.

Nichola had been stabbed eleven times, once through the heart and medics could find no pulse when they arrived.

Sinead gave a description of the attacker to the gardai and then collapsed.

“They thought I was going to die,” Sinead said.

Meanwhile, sadistic Whelan, also then 19, had gone home two doors away, changed his clothes and had a cigarette with his mother before returning to the scene and asking gardai about events inside.

They recognised him from Sinead’s description and arrested him. He told them: “It’s a pity I did not do more.”

Sinead said: “My mum said it looked like I had been attacked by a shark, there was skin hanging off my arm and blood everywhere.

“It’s really frightening and chilling for me the fact he was able to within minutes completely mask his demeanour and act like a concerned neighbour.

“To be able to do that, to be that manipulative, that Machiavellian and evil is really frightening. He had no empathy for human life.”

Whelan was known to gardai for previous assaults, including one on girls with a hurley, and had been thrown out of a pub that night for trying to smash a glass ashtray on a barman’s head.

He told gardai he did not know Sinead nor Nichola nor why he attacked them, choosing the house at random.

“I don’t know why I did it. I was going to kill myself or someone else and I didn’t have the courage to do it to myself,” he told officers.

Whelan was handed a 15-year sentence for the attempted murder of Sinead and a mandatory life sentence for the murder of Nichola, with the sentences to run consecutively. Whelan, who pleaded guilty, launched multiple appeals against the sentencing.

Sinead said she and Nichola’s family were devastated to discover Whelan had been before the parole board three times already and has been allowed out on family visits, the first time when he had only done four years.

Sinead has written to Justice Minister Helen McEntee to try and stop the killer’s day release.

She said it was “despicable” that the system allowed Whelan to use his time behind bars to launch appeals rather than participate in rehabilitation programmes.

Whelan was successful in getting his 15-year sentence for the attempted murder of Sinead reduced to 11 in 2013 and has been out on day release at least four times.

Sinead said she was violently ill when she made the discovery because she was never informed.

“It was mind-blowing. We had no idea. I could have bumped into him in the street. It is criminal the way we have been treated.

“He is a huge danger to the public and has shown no remorse.”

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