A Dublin woman is still looking for answers, 14 years after her partner was viciously assaulted and killed in an attack in his home.
On January 18th 2007, 60-year-old Michael Gallagher was stabbed multiple times after two masked men barged their way into his Tallaght home.
Gardaí never identified any suspects.
His partner Sally Rodgers herself suffered injuries inflicted by a hammer during the attack.
Speaking to The Pat Kenny Show, Sally recalled what happened that January night.
She said: “I had been in work. I had finished an evening job… I worked from 5 to 9 pm after my day job. I came home, and Micheal had just finished cooking.
“We sat down and had our dinner and a glass of wine. It would have been around 10 pm when the doorbell rang.”
Sally said she had no reason to be nervous in answering the front door.
When she answered, there was a man on the front step who then stepped into the hall. It soon became clear he was armed with a hammer.
Sally recalled: “I can’t remember much - I’d say [he had] dark clothing, but I couldn’t describe anything.
“I kept backing up, as he was coming towards me. I don’t know when I became aware of the man behind him.”
Sally backed up slowly, and soon Michael appeared to see what was happening.
The man with the hammer stood over Sally, and she feared she was going to get hit in the head.
She told Pat: “If someone asked me, I would have said I was tapped on my arms and legs. [But] it took months for the bruises to go.
"[The hits were] obviously harder than I felt, I’d say because of the adrenaline.”
Meanwhile, the other man was standing face-to-face with Michael, and Sally saw the man pull a knife out of an umbrella.
She said: “Michael said ‘you’re in the wrong house’. The next time he said it he sounded so frightened.
“I will never forget Michael’s voice saying ‘you’re in the wrong house’... to hear the fear in a 60-year-old man’s voice… a big strong man… he wasn’t expecting anything."
'I knew it wasn't good'
Sally remembers no row or no shouting. She doesn't recall exactly what happened next, but she assumes she must have closed her eyes.
She said: "When I looked the two men had left, and Michael was lying on the floor. There was a pool of blood around him. I went over and knelt down beside him… and he said ‘I’m dying, I’m dying'”.
Sally ran outside and screamed for her neighbours, who came to help.
She said: “I couldn’t go back in… I knew by his colour that it wasn’t good.
“I was afraid to go back in and see that he had passed.
"I stood outside the front door with my neighbour, and my neighbour’s son stayed inside with Michael.
"We waited for the ambulance to come… he was still alive going into the ambulance.”
Michael was brought to hospital, where he later passed away.
Sally said that's when "the horror of it all" started to hit home.
She said: “I only knew how severe [the attack] was… when I read it in the paper or during one of the inquests afterwards.
"I didn’t know how many times they had done it… I would have said they were only in the house for seconds, that’s all it felt like to me.”
Sally was traumatised in the days afterwards, but she soon realised that everyone was a potential suspect in the Garda investigation - including herself.
She told Pat: “To suffer such a trauma, and then to be questioned… I can only look back after years and accept that. At the time I found it very hard, because I loved Michael so much and we were so happy together.
“Anyone’s that in your phone was spoken to… even my mammy who was in her 80s at the time would have been spoken to.”
Sally assumed at first the attack was a case of mistaken identity, but gardaí never came up with anything along those lines.
She said: “[The guards] probably know more about Michael than I do… they would have gone far and wide to look into Michael’s past.
“I was with Michael five years, and I was very happy. In the last few years, I've said to myself - ‘maybe I didn’t know him at all’. But the guards didn’t come up with anything - they had no suspect and no motives. Nothing.
“Myself and Michael had our lives planned… and that was taken from me. The horrific nature of Michael’s death will always be in your head.”
At first, all Sally wanted was justice for Michael - but now she feels it will never be justice as she won’t get Michael back.
She says she just wants to know why the people responsible took Michael’s life.
The Garda investigation into the killing remains active, and detectives are still looking for witnesses.
Anyone with information about what happened on 18th January 2007 can contact Tallaght Garda Station on 01-666-6000 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111.