‘I strug­gle to cope with know­ing we need­lessly lost a brother and life will never be the same again’

Bray People - - NEWS -

IN AN emo­tional vic­tim im­pact state­ment Ge­orge John­son’s sis­ter said her brother died ‘due to the thought­less­ness and reck­less ac­tions of An­thony Leahy.’ Ann Breen said ‘it is three years and four months and still I find it al­most im­pos­si­ble to think of him (Ge­orge) as de­ceased.’

Speak­ing on be­half of her si­b­lings and Ge­orge’s part­ner, Imelda Turner, Ann said she had found it ‘dif­fi­cult to put into words what loss we suf­fered’.

She said Ge­orge was ‘a warm, charm­ing and out­go­ing per­son who loved life. He had an amaz­ing sense of hu­mour and he was wel­com­ing to all who crossed his path. He was an or­gan­iser in a group - the per­son who got things done.’

She said the John­son fam­ily were very close be­fore Ge­orge’s death and Ge­orge ‘could brighten any sit­u­a­tion and he was al­ways there when needed.

She said phone calls be­tween the John­son si­b­lings has de­creased since Ge­orge’s death and they strug­gle to cope with Ge­orge’s ‘ter­ri­ble in­juries’ and the fact none of his si­b­lings were with him as he died.

‘As a re­sult of An­thony Leahy’s ac­tions we have not only lost Ge­orge but our fam­ily unit. I want to re­gain that (unit) but my con­stant fear is that we might not be able to’.

She said Ge­orge was an ‘out­stand­ing sports­man’ and from a young age had played hurl­ing and foot­ball with his lo­cal club, St. Pa­trick’s, rep­re­sent­ing the club at county level.

‘Some of my most pre­cious mem­o­ries are of Ge­orge in full flight on the play­ing field. He liked to win but that’s not all the game was about’, she said adding that he men­tored younger play­ers as well.

Ms. Breen said Ge­orge had met his part­ner, Imelda, in 1988 and ‘he loved her and life in the vil­lage of Round­wood’. She said the John­son fam­ily of­ten used to joke that Imelda ‘stole him away to Round­wood’ but she said the re­al­ity was they lived there very hap­pily for 20 years.

A roofer by trade Ge­orge took great pride in his work and of­ten worked six days a week. ‘Go­ing to work was a chal­lenge he en­joyed. It still amazes me the num­ber of peo­ple who talk about his work. It was a tal­ent.’

She said Ge­orge’s death also had a pro­found ef­fect on Imelda. Ms. Breen said Ms. Turner told her of how she saw Ge­orge ‘ly­ing on the road and how she will never for­get the shock of see­ing his body bro­ken and man­gled.’

She said Ms. Turner told her how she ‘wanted to hold him but she couldn’t. She held his hand and talk­ing to him’. She said Ms. Turner felt such ter­ror as she went to Louglin­stown Hos­pi­tal in the am­bu­lance with Ge­orge.

Ms. Breen said ‘I strug­gle to cope with know­ing we need­lessly lost a brother and life will never be the same again. My fear is that our fam­ily will never re­cover and we will have a con­stant worry about Imelda and how she is cop­ing. We will al­ways be haunted by what hap­pened to Ge­orge on Novem­ber 4, 2007.’

She told Judge Michael O’Shea the vic­tim im­pact state­ment was only an in­di­ca­tion of their loss and its im­pact on them and ‘the true im­pact will never be mea­sured’.

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