Woman who lost son in knife attack 'living with the life sentence'

The mother of a 21-year-old man who was killed in a knife attack says she and her family have bee...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.45 3 Mar 2021

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Woman who lost son in knife at...

Woman who lost son in knife attack 'living with the life sentence'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.45 3 Mar 2021

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The mother of a 21-year-old man who was killed in a knife attack says she and her family have been sentenced to life without him.

Jenny O'Reilly lost her son Lorcan following the attack on Halloween night in 2015.

She told Lunchtime Live he was out with friends when an altercation happened.


"The bonfire was finished, he went back to where they live at the flats socialising.

"And a guy came along and an altercation started with two fells and my son went to stop the actual fight, and my son in the meantime got stabbed."

She said her son had big plans for his future career.

"He was very interested in making music, that was his passion.

"So he used to always have the laptop and the iPad and he was making beats and making music.

"He was interested in being a DJ and probably travelling - that's what he wanted to do, that's what he was really aiming for.

"I used to give out to him a lot saying 'You're spending too much time in your room on the iPad doing beats and bops and whatever you're doing'.

"And he goes 'Mam you wouldn't understand, I'm going to be a DJ - when I'm making the money you won't be giving out to me then'".

A person has been charged with manslaughter in relation to Lorcan's death, and was jailed for six years with one and a half years suspended.

But Jenny said this was not justice for her or her family.

"100% I feel let down by the system - I don't feel Lorcan or I don't feel us as a family got any justice whatsoever.

"Lorcan's life is gone forever - we're the ones living with the sentence for the rest of our lives.

"We're the ones that got the sentence".

I went into shock'

Jenny recalled when she was told about Lorcan, after someone knocked on her door.

"A guy said 'Jenny, Lorcan's after being stabbed' - so in the moment of that being said to me I just went into shock, frenzy, the whole lot.

"I didn't know what to do: I had to call Paddy, get him to get to the hospital to get to Lorcan - so there was one of us there if he needed blood or anything.

"That's what I was thinking of".

But she said it was already too late.

"When I got there we were brought upstairs to a private room, we were given tea, small talk and then the doctor actually came in the room and told us he was sorry, that Lorcan had passed.

"I still, then, didn't want to hear what I was hearing - it was in the matter of two hours, all this was in two hours.

"He was stabbed and then he was dead, and then you're told you can go view your son when they have him ready."

'Sometimes I'm not OK'

She said she thinks about all these events "still to this day".

"Even now doing it it's still very hard to talk about it, still very raw for myself, for my family and especially for Lorcan's friends.

"Some of them have children now, and I looks at them saying 'God if my Lorcan was here I'd probably have a grandchild'.

"So we're deprived of all that since that".

Jenny said she finds the strength to go on for her other children.

"The last five years for us is extremely difficult, it's only now I feel a little stronger in myself being able to talk about it.

"Even saying 'stronger', like I'm OK but sometimes I'm not OK - there's days I don't want to get up out of the bed, I don't want to go on.

"But I have my five other children and I say I have to for them.

"It's the birthdays and the anniversary time that we find extremely hard for us, because we haven't got him here".

'Education is key'

She said she believes education is the key to ending the widespread use of knives.

"Any education to do with getting the young ones while they're young is fantastic - especially if you can learn them about the science end of it.

"They might just think sticking a knife in someone is just a little nip, they don't understand the organs inside that - how fatal it can be if they stick a knife here, there or wherever they stick it.

"Even picking up a knife, or even having a knife in your pocket from the start, there's a reason they have one in their pocket and they shouldn't have one."

Jenny added that she believes people take knifes out of fear.

"They're afraid because... there's not enough policing - they know that, they're aware of this, so they don't care.

"I think they think if something will happen to them 'I have this to protect myself'.

"Now I'm talking about the people that don't go out looking for trouble, I'm talking about those.

"But the ones that do carry knives looking for trouble, they know what they're doing.

"So there's two sides to it".

And she said any legislative change on knife crime should be known as 'Lorcan' Law' to honour her son.

Woman who lost son in knife attack 'living with the life sentence'

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Main image: An undated photo of Lorcan O'Reilly. Picture: Supplied

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