‘Tougher sen­tence would have saved Ni­cola’


THE heart-bro­ken fam­ily of mur­dered Tralee woman Ni­cola Collins have called for tougher sen­tenc­ing af­ter it emerged that her killer had got a sus­pended sen­tence for a vi­o­lent as­sault on an­other woman.

For the past four weeks the fam­ily have sat through a lengthy and dis­tress­ing trial but last Thurs­day they say jus­tice pre­vailed and Charleville native Cathal O’Sul­li­van was sen­tenced to life for the mur­der of Ni­cola on March 27, 2017 at his Popham’s Road flat in Cork.

Sec­onds af­ter the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court trial re­ceived the unan­i­mous guilty ver­dict from the jury of nine men and three women, it emerged that O’Sul­li­van had re­ceived a three­year sus­pended sen­tence in 2013 be­fore Cork Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court for a vi­o­lent as­sault on an­other woman.

The young woman, de­spite liver, kid­ney and head in­juries, had sur­vived. A few years later, Ni­cola was dead at the hands of Mr O’Sul­li­van.

“Ni­cola’s death might not have hap­pened if he got a sen­tence,” said her mother, Kay Collins who lives in St Bren­dan’s Park in Tralee. Ni­cola grew up in the town and went to Bal­loon­agh pri­mary and se­condary school. She was liv­ing in Cork in re­cent years.

“Mr O’Sul­li­van was a in a bad place at the time of the other as­sault and he nearly killed a woman. Her in­juries were a car­bon copy of Ni­cola’s ex­cept Ni­cola’s in­juries killed her,” said Kay.

“Tougher sen­tenc­ing would have saved Ni­cola. He would not have been out to do what he did.”

Kay said that “her heart is bro­ken” at the loss of her daugh­ter “who will never ful­fil her po­ten­tial” be­cause Mr O’Sul­li­van took her life.

The fam­ily said that they were dis­ap­pointed at the por­trayal of Ni­cola through­out the trial, and they said that it did not do jus­tice to the won­der­ful daugh­ter and sis­ter that Ni­cola was.

She said sit­ting through the trial was “trau­matic”.

“He said things about Ni­cola, and we had to sit there and lis­ten to them,” she said.

“That man was evil. He sat there and showed no re­morse to us. That was the hard­est thing.”

Kay can still re­call the day her daugh­ter was born weigh­ing just 3 pounds 12 ounces. In 2017, she lost her for­ever.

“Two de­tec­tives ar­rived at the door to tell me my daugh­ter was mur­dered.”

“She was a won­der­ful daugh­ter who vis­ited reg­u­larly and loved mu­sic,” said Kay.

“She al­ways sent me flow­ers on Mother’s day and the day she died was mother’s day too.”

Mr O’Sul­li­van’s sen­tence is a re­lief to the fam­ily.

“When I walked into that room all I wanted was for jus­tice to pre­vail but we had doubts es­pe­cially the way he por­trayed Ni­cola so there was a great sense of re­lief when he was found guilty.”

Mr O’Sul­li­van of Popham’s Road, Far­ran­ree, Cork and for­merly of Charleville, Co Cork re­mained emo­tion­less as the ver­dict was re­turned and Ms Jus­tice Cree­don im­posed the manda­tory life sen­tence.

Mrs Collins thanked ev­ery­one who had sup­ported the fam­ily through the or­deal and es­pe­cially De­tec­tive Paul Col­gan for his com­pas­sion, and her part­ner, Michael, for his sup­port.

Kay Collins pic­tured this week in her St Bren­dans Park, Tralee, home with photos of her late daugh­ter, Ni­cola.

Sen­tenced to life for mur­der: Cathal O’Sul­li­van.

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