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history of violence Family of murdered Jennifer Poole appalled to hear her killer had violent history

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

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

Murder victim Jennie Poole as a child

Murder victim Jennie Poole as a child

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

The last time Jason Poole saw his younger sister alive was the night before her murder. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and was heading out to have milkshakes with her friends.

I was minding her two kids,” Jason told the Irish Independent. “She was in great form, relieved, I suppose, that it was all done with. She had got her make-up done, was full of chatter and so excited to go out.

“The next time I saw her was when I had to identify her body in the morgue.”

Mother-of-two Jennifer Poole (24) was fatally assaulted at her home in Melville Drive, Finglas, Dublin, on April 17 last year.

Her partner of around one year, Gavin Murphy (30), pleaded guilty to murder earlier this month and was yesterday given the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment at the Central Criminal Court.

During an emotional sentencing hearing, Ms Poole’s family learned for the first time that Murphy, from Ballymun, had a history of violence against women and had previously been jailed for two years for attacking a former partner and her mother with a knife in 2015.

“We did not know about his past until yesterday,” he said.

“It was the first time we heard about the incident with a previous partner, and we do not believe Jennifer had knowledge of it either.

“It makes us sick to our stomach to think he had done something similar in the past.

“Why was he out on the streets in the first place?

“The sentence he received in 2015 clearly wasn’t a deterrent because he went and did it again – only this time he went further and murdered someone.”

Mr Poole said as far as his family were concerned, his sister had ended the relationship with Murphy in the week preceding her death.

“Jennifer had conversations with us that week about it being over and she had cut all ties with him,” he said.

“When we went to clear out her home, there wasn’t one item there belonging to him.

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“We know from the kids that she had packed all his stuff and removed (it) from the house previously.”

Ms Poole, a care worker with two young children, was in a relationship with Murphy less than a year before he killed her. They met in May 2020 and he moved into her home in Melville Drive, in Finglas.

The court was told there had been “ongoing difficulties” in the relationship and that she was observed with numerous injuries throughout the relationship.

On the day of the incident a neighbour of Ms Poole said she heard high-pitched screaming “like never before” coming from the apartment and heard the victim shouting, “Stop, please don’t do this” over and over.

When she went to the apartment, she looked through the letter box and saw Gavin Murphy holding a kitchen knife in his hand and appeared to be pulling it away from Ms Poole.

The witness told gardaí she saw a smudge of blood on the floor, that Murphy grabbed a white towel to wipe his hand or knife and that he went into a bedroom to put on his clothes. The witness told gardaí that she screamed at him to be let in and that he told her “f**k off, you”. He then fled over the rear balcony and emergency services were alerted.

An investigation was launched and when Murphy met gardaí at his uncle’s house over an hour later he said that an argument occurred at the house.

He claimed a knife was produced, that he got it in his hand and that “in a split second” he used it.

Murphy also told gardaí he “blacked out”, that he “couldn’t even look at her” and that he then left and went to Poppintree Park.

In a prepared statement to gardaí after his arrest, he took responsibility for the killing, but said he didn’t plan to kill Ms Poole and that he “truly loved her”.

Murphy also told gardaí: “I’m really sorry and I didn’t want this to happen.”

He was later charged and earlier this month pleaded guilty to murder.

The court was told Ms Poole suffered seven stab wounds and the cause of death was haemorrhaging and shock from multiple stab wounds.

Det-Sgt Mangan confirmed Murphy had 13 previous convictions including for having a phone in custody, assault causing harm, burglary, producing an article and criminal damage.

David Poole, the victim’s brother, said her two children were “robbed” of their mother and that their lives have changed forever. Her son and daughter were four and seven at the time of her killing.

Mr Poole said his sister could not have been a more caring mother and that she did everything for her children. He added that now all they have was memories of their beautiful mother.

Mr Justice Paul Burns said it was “yet another case of a violent attack upon a young woman” by a male partner with fatal consequences.

Offering his condolences to the family of Ms Poole, he imposed a sentence of life imprisonment for the “vicious” murder.

Last night, Jason Poole called for all men and women with previous convictions for violence against a partner to be placed on a register, similar to the Sex Offenders Register.

“We know from yesterday that he had done something very similar with a previous relationship and there was a knife involved,” he said.

“If a register was in place, Jennifer could have walked into a garda station and said, ‘This has happened me once or twice, I’m not comfortable in this relationship, I need to check something out, does he have a previous domestic violence record?’

“She could have asked, ‘Is he on the register?’”

Mr Poole, who is a secondary school teacher, said that domestic violence had become far too common in Ireland and that he believed his sister had covered up the reality of what was going on in the relationship out of fear.

“We kind of had an idea about what was going on,” he said. “We would have said things to her and challenged her but she always had another explanation – the kids hit her with a hurl, she had fell.

“She would never tell you what had really happened.

“She was 100pc afraid of him. I think she was afraid of telling us the truth in case we went up to the house and confronted him… She would be facing it again when we were gone.”

Mr Poole said the realisation at yesterday’s court hearing that Murphy had a previous conviction for violence against a partner had angered his family.

“It makes me feel very angry,” he said.

“That realisation that he was that type of person. When you are like that, that’s what you do, isn’t it?

“You put on a front and then you build the person up and break them down into what you want to mould them into yourself.

“In Jennifer’s case he came and he was great and once he got her where he got her he broke her down.

“She got to the point where she couldn’t speak to her family about incidents or justify where she got her bruises from.

“If she had just told us the real story, she would probably be here today.”

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