The brother of Ann Walsh has said the thought of bumping into her killer when he is released from prison is an “unbearable” prospect.
Aged only 23 at the time, Ann was strangled by her ex-boyfriend, Raymond Donovan, in 2005.
She was a young woman with dreams of becoming a hairdresser and was looking forward to going on holiday just before she was murdered in the grounds of St Senan’s Church in Kilrush, Co Clare.
Donovan was sentenced to life in prison but has already served the minimum 12 years required by law. In Ireland, those given life sentences typically serve 18 years on average and Stephen Walsh lives in a constant state of dread that Donovan could soon walk free.
West Clare is a small place and if he settled where he grew up, he would only be a few miles away from the Walsh family:
“It is unbearable,” Stephen told The Anton Savage Show.
“I couldn’t imagine seeing him because I wouldn’t like to see him to be honest with you because it would be very hard to see someone after doing something so cruel and violent the way he did it like.”
The trial was traumatic for the Walsh family and to make matters worse Donovan never showed any “an inch of remorse” for his behaviour:
“We were kind of left in the dark,” Stephen recalled.
“We didn’t know exactly what it was, we were in shock. Everything kind of happened so fast, we didn’t know if we were kind of coming or going and next thing we knew it was over… It was hard, it was very hard. I wouldn’t wish it on any family.”
“Ever since Ann has been murdered it has destroyed our family mentally and physically. What’s the hardest part is to say that we have to fight day in, day out, year in, year out, to keep someone in prison that murdered someone.”
Time has not healed the gaping wound in the Walsh family’s lives and they are still suffering today.
“It drove us all apart… We’re so hurt, we’re constantly arguing and trying to do this and trying to do that,” Stephen described.
“And the stress. My mother and father are…” his voice trailed off.
“I always remember my father saying on the night of Ann’s [funeral], ‘I never thought that I’d have to bury one of my children before myself’ - and that killed him.”
The story of Ann’s murder and the Walsh family’s quest for justice has been made into a documentary by TG4; Marú Inár Measc – Murder of Ann Walsh will be broadcast on 8th June at 9.30pm.
Main image: Prisoner Behind Bars Close Up.