The mother of Jasmine McMonagle, who was brutally beaten to death by her “on and off” partner in her own home, has told how she relives the killing and wonders if her daughter called out for her family before she died.
In a separate victim impact statement, Jasmine’s oldest daughter said that killer Richard Burke had tried to teach her mother Martial Arts, but what Jasmine really needed was defending from him.
At a sentencing hearing at the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday, the victim’s mother Jacqueline McMonagle said that when it came to Burke, “the only word that comes to mind is evil”.
Jasmine McMonagle, (28) was found in a pool of blood in the kitchen of her home following a three hour standoff between Burke and gardaí.
Burke (32), of Killygordon, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms McMonagle at Forest Park, Killygordon on January 4, 2019, but guilty to manslaughter.
Last month a Criminal Court trial sitting in Monaghan heard from two psychiatrists who both agreed that Burke was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killing which substantially diminished his responsibility.
The jury of seven women and five men had been told by Mr Justice Paul Burns that all the evidence in Burke’s trial pointed to a manslaughter verdict and the jury took just over one hour to agree, in a unanimous decision.
Reading from her statement, Jacqueline said that January 4, 2019 was the day “my world fell apart”, when Jasmine’s life and future was “horrifically taken from her” by Burke.
Jasmine’s mother became emotional as she told the court the family had all been given a life sentence of suffering and pain and of missing someone so dearly who they are never going to see again. She said Jasmine was a “kind and generous” person who adored and lived for her two girls.
She told the court Jasmine had always loved spending time with her family and said Christmas was a special time for them but the holiday “means nothing to me anymore”.
Now Jasmine’s daughter’s must spend Christmas without their mother, she said, and they now spend Christmas at her grave.
Ms McMonagle she goes “over and over” what happened and wonders if her daughter called out their names and how long she suffered before she died.
The court also heard from Ms McMonagle’s young daughter, who was just 8-years-old when her mother was brutally beaten and strangled to death while she was also in the house. She said Richard Burke had “ruined our lives”.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, the young girl said: “I wish mammy had never ever met him. He has ruined our lives and we can never get mammy back”.
Ms McMonagle’s daughter, who is now 12, added: “I miss my mammy so much”, and told how her mother’s loss was especially apparent around big occasions like Christmas and her birthday.
She said she always thought Richard Burke was a bad person. He had tried to teach her mother Martial Arts, she said, but what she really needed was defending from him.
In his victim impact statement, the 12-year-old’s father said his child is in constant fear Richard Burke will escape justice and will come to murder her and her little sister.
“This animal has ruined my child’s life,” he said.
He said since her mother’s brutal death, his daughter has had to move schools and the family decided to move away from the village where it happened. He said she has lost touch with all her old friends and has become withdrawn.
He said his daughter “thinks the world” of her little sister and the fact that they now live not only in different houses but in different counties is very hard for her. He said she stays over with her every other weekend but the two girls are “heartbroken” when they have to leave each other.
Ms McMonagle’s sister Jenna, who has legal guardianship for Ms McMonagle’s youngest daughter, told the court Jasmine had had her life “ripped away from her” in the most brutal and insidious way possible.
“I could call Richard Burke a monster or an animal but quite frankly that would be disrespectful to monsters and animals. Richard Burke is something else,” she said.
Jenna was 8 months pregnant on the morning gardaí arrived to say Jasmine had died.
She said a lot of what followed was “a blur” but she knew she had to be strong for her unborn son and the two beautiful girls whose mother had been “savagely stolen away from them”.
The trial heard gardaí attended the house in Forest Park, Killygordon following a 999 call by Ms McMonagle at 4.21am stating that she was in fear for her life. The first officers on the scene were confronted by Burke brandishing a butcher-style meat cleaver which he swung at one of the members of the force, making contact with his clothing and narrowly missing his arm.
A garda went to the rear of the property shortly after 5am and saw Ms McMonagle’s lifeless body lying in a pool of blood after he looked through a small gap in the curtains of a kitchen window.
A trained crisis negotiator was deployed at the scene and efforts to gain access to the house continued for some time before gardaí decided immediate and forced entry to the property was needed after Ms McMonagle’s young daughter was seen at a front bedroom window of the house.
During three garda interviews which took place following the killing, Burke told investigating officers he “went ballistic” and started punching Ms McMonagle and strangling her with a rope.
At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Mr Justice Paul Burns remanded Burke in custody for sentence on May 22.