A grieving mum says she has been “plunged once again into the terrible darkness” after finding out the man who murdered her teenage son can now attend college.
Mary Fitzpatrick’s son Mikey was stabbed eight times in an “unprovoked attack” in Southill, Limerick, in 1999 by Christopher O’ Callaghan, then 18.
Taking on radio show Liveline about the impact this new has had on herself and her family, the incredibly brave mum moved people all over the country with her articulate and heartbreaking words.
“I should have a 38 year old son and grandchildren,” she said. “He [Mikey] lost his whole future in act that took three minutes to happen, while I have the devastation for the rest of my life. I’ve worked hard and I’ve trained in my career as a bereavement counsellor but I carry around that pain and so does my kids. We never turned to revenge or violence, we left it to the law and I feel like I’ve a slap in my face.”
Mr. O’ Callaghan was given a life sentence in 2002 for Mikey’s brutal murder. However, according to Mary 13 years is not a long enough sentence, especially considering the fact her son’s murderer has never apologised to her or shown remorse.
“He can leave the prison get on public transport and go to college. How do I know who’s he’s meeting college every day? I’d be worried about people. In my mind he’s free although he was given a life sentence.”
And shockingly, Mary says that although she sent the Minister for Justice a letter voicing her concerns, she hasn’t received a reply.
“I voiced my concerns as I felt was too early after 13 years. I know people are rehabilitated and remorseful and go out into the world and make new lives for themselves, but this person never showed remorse – he added to the pain. He’d spit at me and follow me to the graveyard, I could go on with a litany.
“It’s just my opinion, but the minister is probably too engrossed in the upcoming election to bother taking the time to reply to my message. He’s after starting college, it’s too late.”
On the show, Mary heartbreakingly told listeners about the night she found her son stabbed, and the impact it has had on her life and the life of her three children.
“The sight I saw he had been stabbed, the stab wounds, I didn’t know what happened to him,” she recalled. “He was trying to run away to save his life, he kept running and Christopher followed him, pinned him against a wall and stabbed his vital organs.
“His eyes was opened and moving. I wanted to run away; I thought it couldn’t be me, it couldn’t be my son. I took his hand and kept saying ‘don’t leave me’. Our eyes met and it was goodbye. I get comfort now when I’m alone that he saw me last, not the person who plunged the knife into him.
And six months after her son was murdered, Mary nearly took her own life, in an attempt to “take away the pain.”
I took sleeping tablets and went to kiss my kids goodbye, and I bent down to kiss my three-year old and I looked down at her little face and I thought, I can’t leave them to deal with this so I carried on and I’m here 17 years today, and I’m here to help other people.”
Now, years later, Mary is still grieving.
“I am on medication, I taker antianxiety tablets, I suffer from panic attacks. It affects you mentally and physically and my depression has multiplied since last week. That missing person is always missing. There’s an ache. I watch it in my children eyes every day.”
Our hearts go out to this mum, we can’t begin the imagine the pain and suffering she has gone through and we hope she can find a measure of peace.